Douglas County District Court File No. 21-CR-17-1047
Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Chad M.
Larson, Douglas County Attorney, David M. Classen, Assistant
County Attorney, Alexandria, Minnesota (for respondent)
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender,
Renée Bergeron, Special Assistant Public Defender, St.
Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Rodenberg, Presiding Judge; Hooten,
Judge; and Klaphake, Judge. [*]
knowledge that another person is storing methamphetamine
paraphernalia in a private bedroom of a child's home is
insufficient to support a conviction of engaging in the
activity of storing methamphetamine paraphernalia in a
child's home under Minn. Stat. § 152.137, subd.
appeal from her conviction of storing methamphetamine
paraphernalia in a child's residence, appellant argues
that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a
reasonable doubt that she engaged in the activity of storing
any methamphetamine paraphernalia. Minn. Stat. §
152.137, subd. 2(a)(4) (2016). Appellant also argues that the
district court erred in denying her motion for judgment of
acquittal and convicting her of a charge that the state
dismissed in a plea agreement. We reverse.
2017, when appellant Jessica Lynn Maack and her two children
had nowhere else to live, they stayed in her
mother-in-law's home. Maack's husband, who is the
father of her two children, owed a local drug dealer
thousands of dollars for drugs. To pay off his debt,
Maack's husband, who permanently lived in his
mother's home, allowed the dealer to live in the basement
rent-free. The dealer lived in the home for about ten months,
but he was in and out of jail during that time. Maack knew
that when the dealer stayed there, he continued to deal drugs
out of his basement bedroom.
receiving anonymous complaints about short-term traffic
coming in and out of the home, the police performed a
"garbage pull" at the residence. In the garbage,
police found drug paraphernalia and items that tested
positive for methamphetamine. Relying on that evidence, the
police obtained a search warrant and searched the home. The
following people were present at the time of the search:
Maack and her two children, the dealer and two of his
children, and a female adult and one of her children (who
were also temporarily living there). The police found
methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in the dealer's
private bedroom in the basement. The police also found
marijuana and a marijuana pipe in Maack's bedroom
admitted to the police that she once took a hit from a
methamphetamine pipe in the dealer's bedroom. She told
the police that she attempted to find a better home for her
children but that it was difficult because she earned only
$10.50 an hour and had nowhere else to go. She told police
that she refused to get involved in the drug-dealing business
and hoped to save enough money to permanently move away from
her mother-in-law's home.
state charged Maack with four counts: fifth-degree
methamphetamine possession, Minn. Stat. § 152.025, subd.
2(1) (2016); storage of methamphetamine paraphernalia in a
child's residence, Minn. Stat. § 152.137, subd.
2(a)(4); petty misdemeanor possession of a small amount of
marijuana, Minn. Stat. § 152.027, subd. 4(a) (2016); and
petty misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, Minn.
Stat. § 152.092(a) (2016). Later, the state dismissed
count one, fifth-degree methamphetamine possession. Pursuant
to a plea agreement, Maack pleaded guilty to possession of a
small amount of marijuana and the state agreed to dismiss the
possession of drug paraphernalia charge. The only remaining
count, engaging in the activity of storing methamphetamine
paraphernalia in a child's residence, was tried to a
closing arguments, Maack moved for judgment of acquittal,
arguing that the state failed to prove that she knowingly
stored methamphetamine paraphernalia because she did not
exercise any control over the paraphernalia found in the
dealer's bedroom. The district court denied the motion,
and the jury found Maack guilty. The district court entered
convictions on three counts: storing methamphetamine
paraphernalia in a child's residence, petty ...