This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).






State of Minnesota,


Paul Henry Reder,


Filed June 26, 2001


Stoneburner, Judge


Jackson County District Court

File No. K999001001


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Suite 500, 525 Park Street, St. Paul, MN 55103; and


Mark T. Steffan, Jackson County Attorney, Suite 2D, Jackson County Courthouse, 405 Fourth Street, Jackson, MN 56143 (for respondent)


Deno W. Berndt, Warchol, Berndt & Hajek, P.A., Suite 110, 3433 Broadway Street Northeast, Minneapolis, MN 55413 (for appellant)



            Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Crippen, Judge, and Stoneburner, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N



            Appellant Paul H. Reder challenges the revocation of his probation.  Because the district court did not abuse its discretion, we affirm.



            Reder was charged with gross-misdemeanor harassment and four other counts for conduct that included: leaving a message on his ex-wife’s answering machine that threatened “you and Steve Cook are going down”; two instances of driving aggressively close to a vehicle driven by Cook while making obscene gestures at him; and pulling alongside Cook’s car and calling him an obscene name.  In January 2000, Reder pleaded guilty to the gross-misdemeanor harassment charge and the other charges were dismissed. 

On April 10, 2000, the district court stayed imposition of Reder’s sentence for two years on several conditions, including that Reder refrain from committing “threats or gestures similar to those in the amended complaint.”  On April 27, 2000, Reder signed a probation agreement that restated the conditions of his probation.  Pursuant to a uniform case report filed in June 2000, the district court ordered Reder to appear and show cause why his probation should not be revoked. 

At Reder’s parole-revocation hearing, Jim Aden testified that on May 4, 2000, Reder made an obscene gesture at him while driving by and that on May 16, 2000, as he was walking in the street, Reder accelerated and swerved his car toward him.  Aden also described a fight he had with Reder in June 2000 and testified that one week later, Reder used a tractor’s weed sprayer to spray his car as he and his wife drove by.  Reder offered his version of the fight, but he denied seeing Aden on either May 4 or May 16, and he denied using his tractor’s weed sprayer on Aden’s car.

At the end of the hearing, the district court ruled from the bench, finding that Reder had violated the condition requiring him to refrain from making gestures or threats similar to those in the amended complaint by gesturing obscenely at Aden and by swerving his vehicle towards Aden.  In its written order, the district court found that Reder’s conduct was “inexcusable,” that confinement was “necessary to protect the public from further criminal activity,” and that to fail to revoke Reder’s probation would “unduly depreciate the seriousness of the violation.”  The district court revoked Reder’s probation but granted his motion to stay execution of sentence pending this appeal.


            A district court “has broad discretion in determining if there is sufficient evidence to revoke probation and should be reversed only if there is a clear abuse of that discretion.”  State v. Austin, 295 N.W.2d 246, 249-50 (Minn. 1980) (citations omitted).  “The purpose of probation is rehabilitation and revocation should be used only as a last resort when treatment has failed.”  Id. at 250.  A district court must balance “the probationer’s interest in freedom and the state’s interest in insuring his rehabilitation and the public safety.”  Id. at 250-51 (citing Gagnon v. Scarpelli, 411 U.S. 778, 785, 93 S. Ct. 1756, 1761 (1973)).  Before revoking probation, the district court must:

1) designate the specific condition or conditions that were violated; 2) find that the violation was intentional or inexcusable; and 3) find that [the] need for confinement outweighs the policies favoring probation.


Id. at 250. 

Reder contends that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that he violated the conditions of his probation.  But an express condition of Reder’s probation was that he refrain from making gestures or threats similar to those in the amended complaint. Aden’s testimony that Reder gestured obscenely at him and swerved toward him as he walked in the street provides sufficient evidence for the district court to conclude that Reder violated that condition.[1] 

            Reder also argues that the need for his confinement does not outweigh the policies favoring probation.  In keeping with the supreme court’s decision in Austin, the district court concluded that confinement was “necessary to protect the public from further criminal activity” by Reder and that failing to revoke his probation would “unduly depreciate the seriousness of the violation.”  See id. at 251 (quoting A.B.A Standards Relating to Probation § 5.1(a) at 56-57 (Approved Draft 1970)).  We agree.  Reder first violated the conditions of his probation on May 4, 2000, less than one month after the district court conditionally stayed imposition of his sentence and exactly one week after he signed a probation agreement that contained the terms of the stay.  Moreover, the conduct for which his probation was revoked involved obscene gestures and aggressive driving, the same conduct that led to the charges against him.  The district court did not abuse its discretion in revoking Reder’s probation.



[1] Reder makes much of the fact that the district court’s order did not discuss his fight with Aden and the alleged spraying incident.  Perhaps the district court concluded that these incidents were not sufficiently similar to the gestures and threats described in the amended complaint to violate the conditions of Reder’s probation.  The fact that revocation was not based on all of Aden’s allegations is irrelevant.