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State v. Andersen

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

July 3, 2017

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Travis Clay Andersen, Appellant.

         Carver County District Court File No. 10-CR-15-685

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and

          Mark Metz, Carver County Attorney, Angella M. Erickson, Assistant County Attorney, Chaska, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Anders J. Erickson, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and Kirk, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         A doctor's report that is prepared for treatment purposes and that is only coincidental to a criminal investigation is not a testimonial statement subject to the Confrontation Clause.

          OPINION

          ROSS, Judge

         A jury in an assault trial heard testimony that appellant Travis Andersen punched his girlfriend A.A. in the face and that he had previously assaulted her. A.A.'s treating physician's assistant testified that she examined A.A.'s x-rays and concluded that A.A. suffered a broken nose, and the prosecutor introduced a radiologist's report confirming that A.A.'s nose was broken. The jury found Andersen guilty. Andersen argues that the district court abused its discretion by allowing A.A. to testify about Andersen's prior abuse and violated his constitutional right to confront witnesses by admitting the radiologist's report. We affirm because the prior-abuse testimony was admissible relationship evidence and because the radiologist's report was not testimonial in nature.

         FACTS

         The state charged Travis Andersen with domestic assault and third-degree assault, among other things, after A.A. reported in July 2015 that he punched her several times while she was driving. The jury in Andersen's March 2016 trial heard from A.A. and the physician's assistant who treated her.

         A.A. testified that she and Andersen began dating in August 2014. Andersen soon began verbally abusing her. By October 2014, A.A. moved in with Andersen and his parents. Sometime in late October or early November, Andersen and A.A. got into an argument during which Andersen hit A.A. in the face. The district court cautioned the jury to avoid misusing this testimony. A.A. told the jury that Andersen went to prison in December 2014.

          A.A. said that Andersen stopped verbally abusing her only for a time. She decided to move out of Andersen's parents' home and end the relationship in the spring of 2015, while Andersen was still in prison. But she saw him on July 2, 2015, after he was released. She invited Andersen to stay with her, and on July 7, 2015, she picked Andersen up from his parents' home. They had an argument during the drive and Andersen grabbed the steering wheel. A.A. stopped in a parking lot, and Andersen yelled at her and threw a beverage at her. A.A. testified that she slapped Andersen and pulled out of the parking lot. They continued arguing, and she hit him once more.

         Andersen retaliated. He punched A.A. in the face "four to five times" while she drove. A.A.'s nose bled and she thought it was broken. A.A. took Andersen to his parents' house and, after Andersen insisted, went inside with him "because [she] was scared since he was still with [her] and [she] was confused." A.A. said that she tried to leave ...


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