Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Longo

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

March 26, 2018

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Erick Carl Longo, Appellant.

          Pennington County District Court File No. 57-CR-15-473

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Peter Magnuson, Assistant Attorney General, and Alan G. Rogalla, Pennington County Attorney, (for respondent)

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Rachel F. Bond, Assistant Public Defender, (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Schellhas, Presiding Judge; Jesson, Judge; and Kalitowski, Judge. [*]

         SYLLABUS

         A sentencing court cannot use the Hernandez method when sentencing a defendant under Minn. Stat. § 609.910 (2014) for both racketeering and controlled-substance crimes committed as part of a single behavioral incident.

          OPINION

          SCHELLHAS, JUDGE.

         Appellant challenges his convictions of, and sentences for, racketeering, controlled-substance crimes, and conspiracy to commit controlled-substance crimes, arguing that (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions of racketeering and conspiracy to commit first-degree sale of a controlled substance; (2) the district court erroneously instructed the jury; (3) the prosecutor committed prejudicial misconduct; and (4) the district court made multiple sentencing errors. Appellant also filed a pro se supplemental brief in which he raised several arguments. We affirm appellant's convictions but reverse and remand for resentencing.

         FACTS

         In June 2015, respondent State of Minnesota charged appellant Erick Longo with the following 14 counts: two counts of racketeering; four counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree controlled-substance crime; one count of conspiracy to commit second-degree controlled-substance crime; one count of first-degree controlled-substance crime; three counts of second-degree controlled-substance crime; one count of third-degree controlled-substance crime; one count of fourth-degree controlled-substance crime; and one count of fifth-degree controlled-substance crime.

         At trial, the state presented evidence that between May 2014 and July 2015, confidential informants (CIs) purchased methamphetamine from Longo in multiple controlled buys conducted by law enforcement. As part of his drug operation, Longo used several individuals, including C.S., H.F., M.F., and B.W., as "runners" or "mules, " who delivered methamphetamine for Longo and returned with the sale money. C.S. testified that as compensation for "being a runner, " Longo paid him with money, methamphetamine, or "good graces, " meaning that if he wanted to purchase methamphetamine for himself, he could buy it from Longo at a cheaper price. C.S. also testified that as a runner for Longo, he assisted Longo with various tasks, such as stealing a car stereo from an individual who owed Longo money, and facilitating an arson as retribution for drugs that were allegedly stolen from Longo.

         C.S. testified that Longo referred to a specific portion of his residence as "The Crack Shack, " where people purchased methamphetamine. Because Longo accepted property in exchange for methamphetamine, he sometimes referred to The Crack Shack as "The Crack Shack Pawnshop." C.S. testified that Longo "fronted" methamphetamine to individuals in exchange for property, which was used as collateral for drugs. These individuals brought items, "like, stolen car stereos to Longo, " and Longo paid them in methamphetamine and wrote receipts for them. B.W. testified that Longo had several vehicles at his residence that he had obtained through "debts and collateral" for methamphetamine transactions. Longo posted ads for this property on "Craigslist and . . . on his Facebook page."

         The jury found Longo guilty of nine charges, including one count of racketeering, three counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree sale of methamphetamine, and five counts of sale or possession of methamphetamine. The district court denied Longo's motion for a new trial. Except in regard to the racketeering offense, which the court ranked as a severity-level nine, the court Hernandized all of Longo's sentences and imposed concurrent sentences for all offenses, for a total sentence of 189 months.

         This appeal follows.

         ISSUES

         I. Is the evidence sufficient to sustain Longo's convictions of racketeering and conspiracy to commit first-degree sale of a controlled substance?

         II. Did the district court err when it instructed the jury on the racketeering charge?

         III. Did the prosecutor commit prejudicial misconduct during closing arguments?

         IV. Did the district court err in sentencing Longo?

         V. Do any of the arguments raised in Longo's pro se supplemental brief have merit?

         ANALYSIS

         I. Sufficiency of the evidence

         Longo argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions of racketeering and conspiracy to commit first-degree sale of a controlled substance. When considering a claim of insufficient evidence, we conduct "a painstaking review of the record to determine whether the evidence and reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, viewed in a light most favorable to the verdict, were sufficient to allow the jury to reach its verdict." Loving v. State, 891 N.W.2d 638, 643 (Minn. 2017) (quotation omitted). We assume that "the jury believed the state's witnesses and disbelieved any evidence to the contrary." State v. Caldwell, 803 N.W.2d 373, 384 (Minn. 2011) (quotation omitted). A reviewing court will not disturb the verdict if the jury, "giving due regard to the presumption of innocence and to the prosecution's burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt . . . could reasonably have found the defendant guilty of the charged offense." State v. Vang, 847 N.W.2d 248, 258 (Minn. 2014) (quotation omitted).

         A. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.