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State v. C. W. N.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

January 2, 2018

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
C. W. N., Appellant.

         Redwood County District Court File Nos. 64-TX-00-000587, 64-K6-00-00280

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Jenna M. Peterson, Redwood County Attorney, Redwood Falls, Minnesota; and Amy M. Busse, Redwood Falls City Attorney, Redwood Falls, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Peter H. Dahlquist, Dahlquist Law, LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Schellhas, Judge; and Kirk, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         To be eligible for expungement of executive-branch records of a petty-misdemeanor or misdemeanor conviction under Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, subd. 3(a)(3) (2016), a petitioner must not have been convicted of a new crime for at least two years immediately preceding the filing of an expungement petition. To be eligible for expungement of executive-branch records a gross-misdemeanor conviction under Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, subd. 3(a)(4) (2016), a petitioner must not have been convicted of a new crime for at least four years immediately preceding the filing of an expungement petition.

          OPINION

          SCHELLHAS, JUDGE

         Appellant challenges the district court's denial of his petition for expungement under Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, subd. 3(a)(3)-(4), of executive-branch records related to his misdemeanor and gross-misdemeanor convictions.

         FACTS

         A district court convicted appellant C.W.N. of misdemeanor and gross-misdemeanor violations of a harassment restraining order in 2000 (HRO convictions). In 2002, a district court convicted C.W.N. of third-degree driving while impaired (DWI).[1] In December 2015, C.W.N. filed petitions under Minn. Stat. § 609A.02, subd. 3(a)(3)-(4) to expunge his HRO convictions. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) objected in district court to C.W.N.'s petitions, arguing that C.W.N. is ineligible for statutory expungement of its agency records. Neither the City of Redwood Falls nor Redwood County objected to C.W.N.'s petitions.

         At his expungement hearing, C.W.N. argued that clear and convincing evidence supported expungement of judicial- and executive-branch records of his 2000 HRO convictions. The district court, under its inherent authority, granted expungement of judicial-branch records of the HRO convictions and ordered that all files and records relating to the offenses be sealed. The parties do not challenge this portion of the district court's order. But the court denied C.W.N.'s petitions for statutory expungement of executive-branch records, embracing the BCA's interpretation of the expungement statute. The court concluded that C.W.N. is ineligible for executive-branch-records expungement of his misdemeanor HRO conviction because of his gross-misdemeanor HRO-violation conviction within two years immediately following the misdemeanor conviction and of his gross-misdemeanor HRO-violation conviction because of his DWI conviction within four years immediately following the gross-misdemeanor conviction.

         This appeal follows.

         ISSUE

         Is C.W.N. eligible for expungement of his executive-branch records under Minn. Stat. ...


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