Washington County District Court File No. 82-CR-16-1609
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender,
Jennifer Lauermann, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul,
Minnesota (for appellant)
Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Michael
A. Welch, Forest Lake City Attorney, Forest Lake, Minnesota
Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Peterson,
Judge; and Ross, Judge.
district court's no-contact order violates a criminal
defendant's constitutional right to confront a witness
when the order states that the defendant is prohibited from
contact with the witness even in a court proceeding, the
defendant indicates that he interprets the order as
prohibiting him from personally cross-examining the witness,
and the district court does not relieve the defendant of the
purported consequences of violating the order for the purpose
of facilitating cross-examination.
the state charged Anton Schloegl with domestic assault, the
district court issued a no-contact order prohibiting him from
having contact with the alleged victim, including in court.
After the victim testified against him, Schloegl, who was
representing himself, declined to cross-examine her expressly
to avoid violating the order. Also during the trial, Schloegl
yelled profanities and threw a pitcher. The jury found
Schloegl guilty of domestic assault, and the district court
found him guilty of criminal contempt for his courtroom
misconduct. Because the district court was not required to
present the question of Schloegl's criminal contempt to a
jury and the circumstances support the contempt finding, we
affirm in part. But we hold that Schloegl's right to
confront an adverse witness was denied when the district
court did not expressly relieve Schloegl of the no-contact
order's facial prohibition against having contact with
the state's witness during his trial for the purpose of
cross-examination. We therefore reverse in part.
arrested Anton Schloegl and the state charged him for
allegedly assaulting S.O., his fiancée, during a car
trip to Duluth in April 2016. During Schloegl's
arraignment on two counts of misdemeanor domestic assault,
the district court issued a no-contact order prohibiting
Schloegl from having any contact with S.O. The district court
orally emphasized, "No contact means no contact
whatsoever." It warned that "any attempt to contact
her whatsoever" would result in his being "charged
with new crimes." It cautioned, "[Y]ou have no idea
how many guys never even make it out of jail before they
violate these and they find themselves in deeper water."
The part of the written order that we focus on here
emphasizes that the prohibition against contact with S.O.
"applies regardless of whether you are in jail or at the
courthouse for a court appearance."
discharged his public defender and proceeded to trial without
legal counsel. The prosecutor called S.O. as the state's
first witness. She testified that while Schloegl drove them
toward Duluth she and Schloegl began arguing about her
interaction with another man. She said that Schloegl pulled
her engagement ring from a necklace around her neck and threw
it out the window. She said that he grabbed her hair, struck
her in the temple, and forced her head downward and caused it
to hit the window. She testified that when Schloegl pulled
over and directed her to drive, she ran for help and called
the prosecutor ended S.O.'s direct examination, the
district court asked Schloegl if he had any questions for
District Court: No questions?
Schloegl: What do you mean questions?
District Court: Do you have any questions that you wanted to
Schloegl: For the person on the stand?
District Court: Yes.
Schloegl: But I have no contact order, so no.
District Court: That's fine. You can step down then,