of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Amy
Lawler, Assistant Public Defender, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for
Ellison, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Peter
Orput, Washington County Attorney, Nicholas Hydukovich,
Assistant Washington County Attorney, Stillwater, Minnesota,
1. On a
petition for postconviction relief under Minn. Stat. ch. 590
(2018) asserting the invalidity of a test-refusal conviction
under Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 U.S.__, 136
S.Ct. 2160 (2016), and Johnson v. State, 916 N.W.2d
674 (Minn. 2018), the petitioner bears the burden to allege
and prove there was neither a warrant nor an applicable
exception to the warrant requirement.
2. In a
proceeding, a heightened pleading standard applies. Under
this standard: (a) the petitioner must affirmatively allege
that no search warrant was issued and that no warrant
exception was applicable; and (b) if the State wishes to
controvert those allegations, it must plead specifically the
existence of the warrant or exception relied on and the
grounds therefor in sufficient detail to give the petitioner
adequate notice of the State's position.
case requires that we decide whether, on a petition for
postconviction relief under Minn. Stat. ch. 590 (2018)
asserting the invalidity of a test-refusal conviction under
Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 U.S.__, 136 S.Ct.
2160 (2016), and Johnson v. State, 916 N.W.2d 674
(Minn. 2018), the petitioner bears the burden to allege and
prove that no applicable exception to the warrant requirement
applies. Johnson made retroactive the rule announced
in Birchfield that, in the absence of a warrant or
an exception to the warrant requirement, refusal to submit to
a blood or urine test cannot be criminalized. The district
court denied respondent Jason Fagin's request for
postconviction relief because he failed to prove there was no
applicable exception to the warrant requirement. Concluding
that the district court erred by placing the burden of proof
on Fagin instead of the State, the court of appeals reversed
and remanded for further proceedings. Because the district
court properly placed the burden of proof on Fagin, we
reverse the decision of the court of appeals. We also
announce a heightened pleading standard for
proceedings. We remand to the district court to allow
supplemental pleadings under this standard and
reconsideration of Fagin's request for postconviction
2:00 a.m. on March 22, 2012, the Washington County
Sheriff's Department received a report of a car stopped
across two lanes of traffic on a rural road. When deputies
arrived, they found two unconscious men. The deputy who
walked up to the driver's side of the car noticed that
the driver's left shoe was off, his left sock was pulled
down, and his left foot was placed over his right knee. The
deputy immediately suspected that the driver had injected
himself with a narcotic and become unconscious.
deputies woke up the men. As he awakened, the driver sped
away. The car stopped about 30 seconds later. The deputies
ordered the men out of the car and took them into custody. A
pat search of the driver, later identified as respondent
Jason Fagin, produced a plastic bag that the deputies
believed contained methamphetamine. They described Fagin as
"extremely impaired." In the car, the deputies
found several needles, syringes, spoons, and other items
often used with narcotics.
was booked into the Washington County Jail. A deputy read
Fagin the implied-consent advisory, and asked him whether he
understood. Fagin did. The deputy asked Fagin whether he
would like to speak with an attorney. Fagin declined. The
deputy asked if he would take a urine test. Fagin declined.
Fagin also declined a blood test. Fagin later told deputies
that he would take a urine test, but then changed his mind.
Then he again declined a blood test. There is no evidence in
the record that deputies sought a warrant or offered Fagin a
Washington County Attorney charged Fagin with first-degree
test-refusal, Minn. Stat. § 169A.20, subd. 2 (2010),
and fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance, Minn.
Stat. § 152.025, subd. 2(b)(1) (2010). On July 30, 2012,
by plea agreement, Fagin pleaded guilty to the test-refusal
charge and the possession charge was dismissed. The district
court sentenced him to 65 months in prison and imposed a
five-year term of conditional release. Fagin did not appeal.
29, 2014, Fagin filed a timely postconviction petition in
which he argued that Missouri v. McNeely, 569 U.S.
141 (2013), had rendered Minnesota's test-refusal statute
unconstitutional, and sought to withdraw his guilty plea.
Fagin's petition was denied ...