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State v. Thompson

Supreme Court of Minnesota

January 15, 2020

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Randy Lee Thompson, Appellant.

          Court of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts

          Keith Ellison, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and David L. Hanson, Beltrami County Attorney, Bemidji, Minnesota, for respondent. Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and

          Kate M. Baxter-Kauf, Special Assistant State Public Defender, Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P., Minneapolis, Minnesota, for appellant.

         SYLLABUS

         When, on the Red Lake Reservation, a non-Indian violates a Minnesota law under circumstances where the non-Indian is subject to the State of Minnesota's criminal jurisdiction, Red Lake Band police officers are authorized to detain and expel the non-Indian from the Reservation.

         Affirmed.

          OPINION

          THISSEN, JUSTICE

         Appellant Randy Lee Thompson challenges his conviction for first-degree driving while impaired. See Minn. Stat. § 169A.24, subd. 1(2), subd. 2 (2018). Thompson argues that he was unlawfully arrested by a Red Lake Band police officer and that all evidence obtained as a result of that unlawful arrest should be suppressed. The district court denied Thompson's motion to suppress. It reasoned that because Red Lake is a sovereign nation, the State has no authority to grant or deny enforcement power to Red Lake officers.

         The court of appeals affirmed the district court, holding that tribal officers have the authority to detain and eject individuals from the Red Lake Reservation. Because we hold that Officer Patrick Bendel of the Red Lake Police Department acted within his lawful authority when he detained Thompson and transported him to Beltrami County law enforcement, we affirm.

         FACTS

         On August 16, 2017, Thompson drove to the Red Lake Indian Health Service Hospital in Red Lake to pick up his brother. Officer Bendel was present when Thompson arrived at the hospital. Officer Bendel observed Thompson drive into the hospital parking lot, park, and exit his car. Officer Bendel observed that Thompson's "eyes were watery and bloodshot" and that "he was slurring his words."

         Officer Bendel approached and asked Thompson if he had been drinking. Thompson admitted that he had had "a couple beers." Officer Bendel asked Thompson if he was willing to take a preliminary breath test. Thompson consented to the test. The test showed an alcohol concentration of 0.121. Officer Bendel then asked Thompson if he was willing to perform field sobriety tests so Officer Bendel could "gauge his level of impairment." Thompson agreed. Officer Bendel administered the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, the One Leg Stand Test, and the Walk and Turn Test. Thompson failed all three.

         Officer Bendel then informed Thompson "that he was being detained for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol." Officer Bendel handcuffed Thompson, read him his Miranda rights, and secured him in the back seat of the patrol car. Officer Bendel then notified Red Lake dispatch that he had detained Thompson and asked that dispatch contact the Beltrami County Sheriff's Department to arrange a transfer of custody at the county line. Deputy Sheriff Jeff Roberts contacted Officer Bendel, stating that he would meet Officer Bendel at the reservation-county line to take custody of Thompson.

         When Deputy Roberts arrived at the reservation-county line, he put his handcuffs on Thompson and placed Thompson in his squad car. He observed that Thompson had "bloodshot watery eyes." Deputy Roberts then transported Thompson to the Beltrami County jail. While in the car, Thompson made "a spontaneous utterance . . . that he had had two beers" and that "he had driven in to pick his brother up." Upon arriving at the jail, Deputy Roberts read Thompson the Minnesota Implied Consent Advisory. Thompson said that he understood the statements and that he did not wish to speak to an attorney. He agreed to provide another breath sample and his alcohol concentration was reported as 0.11, above the legal limit. Deputy Roberts read Thompson his Miranda rights and Thompson declined to provide a statement. Thompson was jailed on charges of first- degree ...


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