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In re Application of Boone

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

February 19, 2019

In the Matter of the Application of: Bradley Stephen Boone for a Change of Name.

          Nicollet County District Court File No. 52-CV-17-207

          Justin Perl, Eren Sutherland, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid/Minnesota Disability Law Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant Bradley Stephen Boone)

          Considered and decided by Reilly, Presiding Judge; Schellhas, Judge; and Florey, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         In the absence of an objection by the prosecuting authority, a court may not deny a felon's name-change petition on the basis of the factors set forth in Minn. Stat. § 259.13 (2018).

          OPINION

          FLOREY, Judge.

         Appellant Bradley Stephen Boone appeals from the district court's denial of her[1]name-change application. Boone, a felon, complied with the notice requirements for name-change petitions set out in Minn. Stat. § 259.13. The prosecuting authority submitted a letter indicating no objection to the name change, but, in its order denying Boone's application, the district court concluded that Boone had not shown by clear and convincing evidence that her application would not compromise public safety and therefore denied her petition. Because, in the absence of an objection by the prosecuting authority, the plain language of Minn. Stat. § 259.13 does not allow a court to deny a felon's name-change petition on the basis of the factors set forth in Minn. Stat. § 259.13, we reverse and remand.

         FACTS

         In November 2017, Bradley Stephen Boone applied for a name change in Nicollet County, where she resides. Boone has two felony convictions, one from 1994 and the other from 1996, both of which were prosecuted in Stearns County. In April 2017, Boone served notice of her name-change petition on the Stearns County attorney's office, as required by Minn. Stat. § 259.13, subd. 1(a). Stearns County sent its response to the district court by letter in May 2017, stating it had "no objection" to Boone's request for a name change. In December 2017, a hearing was held. Boone called two witnesses. Both witnesses testified to Boone's identity, her residence in Nicollet County and Minnesota for at least six months, and to their opinion that Boone was not seeking a name change to defraud anyone. Boone testified that she does not own real estate, that she is civilly committed in St. Peter as part of the Minnesota sex offender program, and that she has felony convictions from the 1990s. The district court took the application under advisement.

         In February 2018, the district court issued its decision denying Boone's name-change application. The district court reasoned that, while Boone had met the first three of the four factors set forth in section 259.13, subdivision 3, she had not shown by clear and convincing evidence that her application would not compromise public safety.

         Boone appeals.

         ISSUE

         Did the district court err in denying Boone's name-change application by improperly applying ...


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