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State v. LaFountain

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

August 28, 2017

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Adam Allan LaFountain, Appellant.

         Fillmore County District Court File No. 23-CR-15-871

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Karen B. McGillic, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Brett A. Corson, Fillmore County Attorney, Preston, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Jennifer Workman Jesness, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Bratvold, Presiding Judge; Schellhas, Judge; and Jesson, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         Because the Minnesota predatory-offender-registration statute, Minnesota Statutes § 243.166 (2014), is not a penal statute, compliance with the requirements of that statute does not implicate the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

          OPINION

          JESSON, JUDGE

         Appellant Adam LaFountain appeals his felony conviction, arguing that the requirement of the Minnesota predatory-offender-registration statute that he inform law enforcement of his address change violates his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Because the predatory-offender-registration act is not a penal statute, it does not implicate the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination. Further, because LaFountain's statements to the investigator were made when he was not in custody, they are not covered within the scope of that privilege. We therefore affirm.

         FACTS

         LaFountain, who was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2006, was required to register as a predatory offender under Minnesota law. See Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 1b(a)(1)(iii). He completed the necessary registration paperwork at that time. On October 15, 2015, however, LaFountain, who had a history of violating conditions of release, was convicted of felony failure to register. See id., subd. 5(a). He received a 24-month stayed sentence and was required to continue to fulfill registration requirements.

         Shortly thereafter, on November 9, 2015, Fillmore County sheriff's deputies confirmed with LaFountain's former landlord that, three weeks earlier, he had moved from the address he had listed on the predatory-offender registry. A deputy visited LaFountain's employer listed on the registry and learned that LaFountain had not been employed there for two weeks.

         On November 17, 2015, LaFountain entered the law enforcement center in Preston and told a sheriff's investigator that he needed to update his predatory-offender-registration information. LaFountain accompanied the investigator to a computer to access the registry. Examining the dates in the system, the investigator noticed that LaFountain appeared to have moved from his listed address more than a few days earlier. He mentioned this to LaFountain, who responded that he had been evicted from that address and was supposed to leave on October 16, but he still had some items there and had not moved until four or five days earlier. The investigator told LaFountain that a report had been forwarded to the county attorney's office, based on possible noncompliance with registration due to his failure to notify law enforcement of his address change at least five days before moving to that address. See Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 3(b).

         The state charged LaFountain with violating the predatory-offender-registration statute by failing to timely notify law enforcement of his change of address. LaFountain moved to suppress evidence of his statements on his predatory-offender-registration paperwork to the investigator, arguing that they were made in violation of his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

         At an evidentiary hearing on the motion, the investigator testified that LaFountain volunteered that he knew that he was supposed to change his address in the system at least five days before moving to a new address. The investigator did not Mirandize LaFountain because no arrest was made. See Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444-45, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 1612 (1966).

         LaFountain testified that he had provided his new address because it was "either supply the information or be charged criminally." He acknowledged that he understood that, if he did not register, he could be charged with felony failure to register. He testified that "life doesn't happen by the book with[in] five days, " and he believed he was doing the right thing by coming in to update his registration.

         The district court issued an order denying the motion to suppress. The district court held that LaFountain's statements in his Bureau of Criminal Apprehension file acknowledging that he understood the registration requirement, as well as his statements to the investigator, did not violate his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The district court concluded that the predatory-offender-registration statute was civil and regulatory, rather than penal, so that the two elements required for the Fifth Amendment to apply-compulsion and incrimination-were not present, and that LaFountain's statements were not protected by the Fifth Amendment.

         After LaFountain waived his right to a jury trial, the district court found him guilty of failure to register as a predatory offender and sentenced him to a presumptive 30-month sentence. This appeal follows.

         ISSUES

         I. Is the predatory-offender-registration statute a civil and regulatory statute, rather than a penal statute, so that LaFountain's statements relating to its registration requirements do not give ...


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