County Office of Appellate Courts
Jennifer Macaulay, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Deborah Ellis,
Saint Paul, Minnesota, for appellant.
Swanson, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Michael
O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Jean Burdorf, Assistant
County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for respondent.
forfeited appellate review of his argument that the
interests-of-justice exception to the rule announced in
State v. Knaffla, 243 N.W.2d 737 (Minn. 1976),
applies in his case by not raising that argument before the
first-degree murder case, appellant Kemen Lavatos Taylor II
appeals from a postconviction order that summarily denied his
public-trial claim, concluding that Taylor's claim was
barred by the rule announced in State v. Knaffla,
243 N.W.2d 737 (Minn. 1976). On appeal, Taylor argues that
the interests-of-justice exception to the Knaffla
rule should be applied in his case, which would allow his
petition for postconviction relief to be heard on its merits.
Because Taylor forfeited appellate review of this argument
when he failed to raise the argument before the district
court, we affirm.
a jury trial, Taylor was convicted of one count of
first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree
murder in connection with the shooting of three teenage gang
several days of jury selection, the district court announced
a list of rules for those attending the trial; those rules
required spectators to provide photographic identification
before entering the courtroom and outlined general behavior
expectations regarding profanity, hand gestures, cell phones,
and gum. According to the court, the rules were a
response to "past appearances, " which had included
"some disruptions [from] persons in the
gallery." The district court noted that "the
deputies of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office have
been authorized to enforce these rules."
filed a direct appeal with our court, which raised several
issues, including a claim that the district court violated
Taylor's right to a public trial by requiring spectators
to present photographic identification before entering the
courtroom. In our discussion of Taylor's public-trial
claim, we explained the threshold issue of "whether a
closure even occurred." State v. Taylor, 869
N.W.2d 1, 11 (Minn. 2015). More specifically, we said:
[T]here is no evidence in the record that a significant
portion of the public was unable to attend due to the
identification requirement; that Taylor, his family, his
friends, or any witnesses were excluded; or that any
individuals actually excluded were known to Taylor. Further,
unlike in Lindsey, in which two unidentified minors
were actually excluded, here there is simply no evidence that
the requirement was enforced, or, if so, that even a single
individual-identifiable or not-was actually excluded. Thus,
we hold that the photographic identification requirement did
not constitute a "true" closure.
Id. at 11-12 (distinguishing State v.
Lindsey, 632 N.W.2d 652 (Minn. 2001)). In other words,
we concluded "that the photographic identification
requirement did not constitute a 'true' closure"
based on the lack of evidence that the photographic
identification requirement excluded anyone, including