This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Filed January 8, 2002
Kandiyohi County District Court
File No. K3001015
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Boyd Beccue, Kandiyohi County Attorney, Constance J. Crowell, First Assistant County Attorney, Tracy L. Perzel, Assistant County Attorney, 316 Southwest Fourth Street, Willmar, MN 56201 (for appellant)
John E. Mack, Mack & Daby, 26 Main Street, P.O. Box 302, New London, MN 56273 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Amundson, Judge.
The State of Minnesota appeals from a pretrial order excluding statements made by a murder victim to two witnesses regarding respondent Cesar DelaGarza. Because the state has not clearly and unequivocally demonstrated that the suppression ruling will have a critical impact on the outcome of the trial, we affirm.
In this pretrial appeal by the state, the threshold issue is whether the state has clearly and unequivocally demonstrated that the suppression ruling will have a critical impact on the outcome of the trial. State v. Edrozo, 578 N.W.2d 719, 722-23 (Minn. 1998); State v. Scott, 584 N.W.2d 412, 416 (Minn. 1998). The standard for critical impact is met when the suppression of the evidence significantly reduces the likelihood of a successful prosecution. State v. Joon Kyu Kim, 398 N.W.2d 544, 550-51 (Minn. 1987) (critical impact shown where state’s case is destroyed or successful prosecution unlikely without suppressed evidence). The state is not required to show that a conviction is impossible without the suppressed evidence; only that the changes for success are seriously jeopardized. Id.
When analyzing a critical impact issue, this court first examines all admissible evidence available to the state in order to determine the impact of the absence of the suppressed evidence. State v. Zanter, 535 N.W.2d 624, 630-31 (Minn. 1995).
The court should go on to examine the inherent qualities of the suppressed evidence itself, its relevance and probative force, see Edrozo, 578 N.W.2d at 723, its chronological proximity to the alleged crime, its effect in filling gaps in the evidence viewed as a whole, its quality as a perspective of events different than those otherwise available, its clarity and amount of detail and its origin.
In re Welfare of L.E.P., 594 N.W.2d 163, 168 (Minn. 1999).
Here, the admissible evidence included statements from two witnesses: a co-worker, who was also an eyewitness, and respondent’s employer. These witnesses testified that the murder victim told them that respondent was stealing from his employer. The court suppressed substantially similar statements allegedly made by the victim to his granddaughter and another co-worker.
The state argues that the suppressed statements would help to establish a motive for respondent’s premeditation. Premeditation is one of the elements that the state must prove for the jury to find respondent guilty of first-degree murder. State v. Nunn, 561 N.W.2d 902, 908 (Minn. 1997). The state’s theory for motive is that because the murder victim informed numerous people of respondent’s thievery, respondent knew that the victim was responsible for his termination from employment. Although the state has testimony from two other witnesses establishing the same fact, it argues that the additional evidence is critical to produce strong credible “circumstantial evidence of the well-considered, purposeful and premeditated nature of the defendant’s actions.” In light of the testimony already admitted, the state failed to establish that the exclusion of the additional testimony will seriously jeopardize its case.
Under all the circumstances, we conclude that the state failed to show that the suppression of the hearsay evidence reaches the level of critical impact. Because we find no critical impact, we need not reach the merits of the Spreigl issue or the issue involving the admissibility of other testimony.