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State v. Parnell

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

December 18, 2017

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Roberta Duval Parnell, Appellant.

         Dakota County District Court File No. 19HA-CR-14-4232

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Jeremy P. Knutson, Mendota Heights City Attorney, Grannis & Hauge, P.A., Eagan, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Allan H. Caplan, Hillary B. Parsons, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Ross, Presiding Judge; Johnson, Judge; and Klaphake, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         When a defendant is acquitted of a gross misdemeanor offense and is only found guilty of a misdemeanor offense and given a petty misdemeanor sentence, the case is not a gross misdemeanor case for purposes of the rule specifying the deadline for a direct appeal, and any appeal must be filed within the period allotted for misdemeanors.

          OPINION

          KLAPHAKE, JUDGE [*]

         On appeal from a final judgment, appellant Roberta Duval Parnell argues that she is entitled to reversal of her conviction or to a new trial because the evidence was insufficient and reversible errors were made at trial. Because this is not a gross misdemeanor case, but a misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor case, and because the notice of appeal was filed 91 days after entry of final judgment, well beyond the 30-day appeal period, the appeal is untimely and must be dismissed.

         FACTS

         Parnell was charged with fourth-degree assault of a peace officer in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.2231, subd. 1 (2012); obstructing legal process or arrest in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.50, subd. 1(2) (2012); and disorderly conduct in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.72, subd. 1(3) (2012).[1]

         At trial, the jury was properly instructed on the assault and disorderly conduct charges. The instructions given to the jury on the obstruction charge did not include the "force or violence" language for a gross misdemeanor offense and instructed only on the elements for a misdemeanor obstruction charge. See Minn. Stat. § 609.50, subds. 1(2), 2(2). The jury acquitted Parnell of assault and disorderly conduct, but found her guilty of the obstruction charge. Parnell filed a motion for judgment of acquittal or a new trial, which the district court denied on the record. The parties agreed to proceed with sentencing, and the district court entered a conviction on the guilty verdict and sentenced Parnell to a petty misdemeanor, with no fine or probation.

         Parnell electronically filed a notice of appeal with the clerk of the appellate courts on December 20, 2016, 91 days after final judgment was entered on September 20, 2016.

         On appeal, the state argues that the appeal should be dismissed as untimely because it was not filed within 90 days after entry of final judgment, as required by Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.02, subd. 4(3)(a) (requiring notice of appeal to be filed within 90 days after entry of final judgment in felony and gross misdemeanor cases).

         During oral arguments before this court, both parties' counsel were asked whether the appeal was timely filed. Both parties' counsel assumed that this is a gross misdemeanor case subject to a 90-day appeal period. And both parties argued whether Parnell had established "good cause" for a one-day extension of time to file the notice of appeal. See Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.02, subd. 4(3)(g). Additionally, the ...


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