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State v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

December 10, 2018

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
David James Jones, Appellant.

          Cass County District Court File Nos. 11-CR-17-493, 11-CR-16-1817

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Benjamin T. Lindstrom, Cass County Attorney, and Scott A. Hersey, Special Assistant County Attorney, (for respondent)

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Smith, Tracy M., Presiding Judge; Rodenberg, Judge; and Reilly, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         In a first-degree burglary prosecution, the state is not required to prove that the defendant entered the building without a claim of right under Minn. Stat. § 609.582, subd. 1(b) (2016); therefore, misdemeanor trespass under Minn. Stat. § 609.605, subd. 1(b)(4) (2016), is not a lesser-included offense of first-degree burglary. The continuing offense of possession of a firearm by an ineligible person committed inside of the building is a sufficient independent crime to support a first-degree burglary conviction.

          OPINION

          RODENBERG, JUDGE.

         In these consolidated appeals, appellant David Jones appeals from the district court's order denying his motion to withdraw his guilty pleas before sentencing in two different cases. He argues that (1) his guilty plea to first-degree burglary was not constitutionally valid because the factual basis offered in support of it negated an essential element of the charge and failed to establish a second element, and (2) the district court abused its discretion in denying his motion to withdraw his guilty pleas under the fair-and-just standard. We affirm.

         FACTS

         On October 5, 2016, at approximately 7:54 a.m., law enforcement officers responded to a report of a possible trespass at a tribal house in Cass Lake.[1] The house was boarded up, but one board was pulled away from the back window and it appeared to officers that people were in the house. A housing employee removed a board from the front door and unlocked the door, enabling police to enter. Officers located appellant lying on a cot in the northeast bedroom. There was a yellow-gripped black revolver on the floor next to the head of the cot. Appellant was handcuffed and searched. Officers found a needle and money in appellant's front left pants pocket. During the search of the house, an officer noticed appellant moving around and one officer saw appellant ingest several small bindles of a substance that appellant claimed to be heroin. On the floor next to appellant, there were more bindles that field-tested positive for heroin. Officers determined the revolver to be a .22 caliber pistol, and found it was loaded with nine .22 long-rifle cartridges. Appellant was transported to a hospital where he was medically cleared. He was then transported to jail.

         Appellant had multiple prior convictions that made him ineligible to possess a firearm as of October 5, 2016. Appellant was charged with first-degree burglary, among other crimes.[2] While in custody on these charges, the district court granted appellant a furlough for part of March 1, 2017, to attend a funeral. On March 1, appellant signed a furlough agreement that specifically noted, "I will be subject to ESCAPE Charges if I do not return at the stated date and time, unless changes are approved." Appellant did not report back to the Cass County Detention Center as scheduled at the end of his furlough.

         On March 19, 2017, a Leech Lake Tribal Police Officer was on patrol in Cass County when he stopped a car that he observed cross the centerline. While speaking with the driver, the officer observed a male passenger in the back seat of the car who did not make eye contact when the officer asked him a question. Another officer asked the passenger for his name, which he said was "[C.B.]." The officer knew C.B., and knew that the passenger was not C.B. The passenger was later identified as appellant, and he was again arrested and searched. Officers found a total of seven hypodermic needles on appellant's person. Appellant complained that his stomach hurt and admitted to having swallowed a bindle of methamphetamine. Appellant was charged with escape from custody (for not having returned after the March 1 furlough), providing a false name to a peace officer, and possession of hypodermic needles.[3]

         A plea agreement was reached in both cases. Appellant appeared in court on March 27, 2017, and pleaded guilty in the first case to first-degree burglary while possessing a firearm and being an ineligible person in possession of a firearm. Appellant also pleaded guilty to the escape charge in the second case. The agreement provided that appellant would be released on electronic home monitoring and that, if he abided by his conditions of release and appeared at sentencing, appellant would serve a 90-month sentence on the first-degree burglary charge and a 60-month concurrent sentence on the charge for possession of a firearm by an ineligible person, and the escape charge would be dismissed at sentencing. If appellant failed to appear as scheduled or violated the conditions of his release, he would serve 117 months as a guidelines sentence on the first-degree burglary (the first case), a concurrent 60-month sentence on the possession of a firearm charge, and a consecutive year and a day on the escape charge (the second case).

         After appellant entered guilty pleas in both files, he was released on electronic home monitoring under the plea agreement. Appellant cut off his electric-home-monitoring bracelet within a matter of hours because he was having withdrawal symptoms and needed to find drugs. Appellant was later arrested and moved to withdraw his guilty pleas before sentencing, claiming that he had been under the influence of narcotics when he pleaded guilty, that his waivers of rights were not knowing and intelligent, and that he was not competent or lacked the capacity to testify regarding the facts of the offenses. The district court denied appellant's motion to withdraw his guilty pleas. It found that appellant's testimony that he was under the influence of narcotics at the time he entered the pleas was not credible. The district court sentenced appellant as the parties had agreed.

         This appeal followed.

         ISSUES

         I. Was appellant's guilty plea to first-degree burglary ...


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