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Odell v. State

Supreme Court of Minnesota

July 10, 2019

Darren Paul Odell, Appellant,
v.
State of Minnesota, Respondent.

          Anoka County Office of Appellate Courts.

          Darren Paul Odell, Rush City, Minnesota, pro se.

          Keith Ellison, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Anthony C. Palumbo, Anoka County Attorney, Kelsey R. Kelley, Assistant Anoka County Attorney, Anoka, Minnesota, for respondent.

         SYLLABUS

         1. The postconviction court did not abuse its discretion in summarily denying appellant's postconviction petition because appellant's claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel are time-barred by the 2-year postconviction statute of limitations or meritless.

         2. The postconviction court did not abuse its discretion in summarily denying appellant's postconviction petition because appellant's attack on the reliability and credibility of the State's expert witness testimony is time-barred by the 2-year postconviction statute of limitations.

         Affirmed.

         Considered and decided by the court without oral argument.

          OPINION

          LILLEHAUG, JUSTICE.

         In 2000, appellant Darren Paul Odell shot and killed his father during an Easter family gathering. After a bifurcated bench trial, Odell was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. We affirmed Odell's conviction on direct appeal. In September 2018, Odell petitioned for postconviction relief, which the postconviction court summarily denied. Because the postconviction court did not abuse its discretion, we affirm.

         FACTS

         On Sunday, April 23, 2000, Odell attended Easter dinner at his great aunt's house in Blaine. After his father arrived, Odell retrieved a 9mm Beretta handgun from his truck and fatally shot his father in the chest three times. An Anoka County grand jury indicted Odell for first-degree murder.

         During the months following Odell's arrest, defense counsel complained about Odell's inability to meaningfully participate in his defense due to Odell's declining mental health and worsening symptoms. Defense counsel filed a motion under Minn. R. Crim. P. 20.01 to determine whether Odell was competent to stand trial. The district court ordered a competency examination. Two doctors, including the State's expert witness, examined Odell. Each determined that Odell was not competent to stand trial. After an uncontested competency hearing, the district court agreed that Odell was not competent to stand trial. Odell was then civilly committed to the Minnesota Security Hospital in Saint Peter, where he was treated aggressively with neuroleptic medication.

         After a period of hospitalization, Odell was deemed competent to stand trial. He pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness and waived his right to a jury trial. At the conclusion of the first phase of the bifurcated bench trial, the district court found that the State had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Odell had committed the crime of first-degree murder. At the end of the second phase, the district court concluded that Odell had failed to sustain his burden to prove the mental illness defense ...


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