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Roberts v. State

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

August 12, 2019

Dennis Charles Roberts, petitioner, Appellant,
v.
State of Minnesota, Respondent.

          Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CR-16-13478

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Jennifer Lauermann, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Keith Ellison, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Jean Burdorf, Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Considered and decided by Reilly, Presiding Judge; Johnson, Judge; and Hooten, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         Within the context of the statutory scheme and consistent with the plain language of Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(2) (Supp. 2015), prohibiting persons who have been adjudicated delinquent of a "crime of violence" from possessing firearms, the definition of "crime of violence" contained within Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 5 (Supp. 2015), unambiguously includes juvenile adjudications for the listed offenses.

          OPINION

          HOOTEN, Judge.

         In this appeal from a conviction for possession of a firearm by an ineligible person, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(2), appellant argues that because he was adjudicated delinquent, rather than convicted, of a "crime of violence," the statute does not apply to him and his conviction must be vacated. We affirm.

         FACTS

         The facts of this case are simple and undisputed. In 2013, when he was a minor, appellant Dennis Roberts was adjudicated delinquent of a fifth-degree drug offense, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 152.025 (2012). In 2016, after reaching the age of majority, appellant was arrested, charged with, and pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by an ineligible person, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(2). The district court departed dispositionally and sentenced appellant to 60 months stayed prison time with five years of probation. In 2018, appellant violated his probation and the district court executed his sentence.

         Appellant then filed a petition for postconviction relief, arguing that as a matter of law, his prior juvenile adjudication did not qualify as a "crime of violence." The postconviction court denied appellant's petition, concluding that appellant's reading of the relevant statutes would contravene clear legislative intent and render relevant statutory language "meaningless." This appeal follows.

         ISSUE

         Does the definition of "crime of violence" contained within Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 5 (2014), encompass juvenile adjudications of the listed offenses, such that Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(2), prohibits persons who have been adjudicated delinquent ...


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