This opinion will be unpublished and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, City of Golden Valley,
Joseph M. Osowski,
Filed April 30, 2002
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 00102453
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Suite 500, 525 Park Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Mark J. Schneider, Rondoni, MacMillan & Schneider, Ltd, Suite 175, 505 North Highway 169, Minneapolis, MN 55441-6406 (for respondent)
Leonardo Castro, Hennepin County Public Defender, Peter Gorman, Assistant Public Defender, Renee Bergeron, Assistant Public Defender, 317 Second Avenue South, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Klaphake, Judge.
The district court found Joseph Osowski guilty of indecent exposure for sunbathing nude in a public place where others were present, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 617.23(1)(1) (Supp. 2000). Because the district court did not misapply the law to the stipulated facts, and because the facts are sufficient to support the conviction, we affirm.
F A C T S
Golden Valley police officers observed Joseph Osowski and two companions sunbathing nude on a public beach located on Vencor Hospital property in Golden Valley the afternoon of September 9, 2000. Osowski’s midsection was covered with a towel when the police officers approached him on the beach, but Osowski admitted that he had been nude earlier. Prior to September 9, 2000, the Golden Valley Police Department had warned Osowski that others had complained about nude sunbathers in the area.
The state filed a criminal complaint against Osowski, charging him with indecent exposure and disorderly conduct. After a bench trial on stipulated facts, the district court found Osowski guilty of indecent exposure and not guilty of disorderly conduct.
Osowski appeals his conviction, contending that the state failed to prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt and that the district court’s findings are insufficient to support his conviction.
D E C I S I O N
An appellate court examining a sufficiency of the evidence challenge determines whether the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, is sufficient to allow the fact finder to reach a guilty verdict. State v. Miles, 585 N.W.2d 368, 372 (Minn. 1998). Whether particular conduct is encompassed by a criminal statute is an issue of statutory construction that we review de novo. State v. Tomlin, 622 N.W.2d 546, 548 (Minn. 2001).
The district court found Osowski guilty of indecent exposure, a violation of Minn. Stat. § 617.23, subd. 1(1), which prohibits a person from “willfully and lewdly expos[ing] the person’s body, or the private parts thereof” in “any public place, or in any place where others are present.” Osowski argues that the state failed to show beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to lewdly and indecently expose his body or private parts.
Minnesota has well-developed case law interpreting the indecent exposure statute, including decisions that determine the intent necessary to establish that a person has willfully and lewdly exposed the person’s body or private parts. In 1947, the Minnesota Supreme Court, addressing the elements of “intentional, willful, and lewd,” held that the exposure of a person’s private parts becomes indecent or lewd when an individual “indulges in such practices at a time and place where, as a reasonable person, he knows, or ought to know, his act is open to the observation of others.” State v. Peery, 224 Minn. 346, 351 (1947), 28 N.W.2d 851, 854 (finding exposure accidental, and thereby not indecent, when defendant was merely changing his clothing in front of an open window). State v. Schramel, 581 N.W.2d 400, 403 (Minn. App. 1998) (noting that indecent exposure is not a specific intent crime requiring an intent to offend the sensibilities of others), review denied (Minn. Sept. 22, 1999). More than fifty years later, Minnesota appellate courts continue to apply this test. See State v. Stevenson, 637 N.W.2d 857, 863 (Minn. App. 2002) (holding that defendant’s exposure, which consisted of masturbating in his car while parked in a lot adjacent to a public beach, was indecent because the location of the parked vehicle made it almost certain that passersby would observe defendant’s activities), review granted (Minn. Mar. 27, 2002).
Osowski does not dispute that he was nude on the beach, and he does not argue that his nudity was in any way accidental. Furthermore, the conduct occurred at a time, in a place, and in a manner sufficient to demonstrate intent. See Peery, 224 Minn. at 351, 28 N.W.2d at 854. Osowski, as a reasonable person, knew or should have known that his nudity was observable to others. According to the criminal complaint and the stipulated facts, the Golden Valley police had warned Osowski that others had complained about nude sunbathers in the area, and Osowski acknowledged that he had been warned.
Osowski also does not dispute that, while sunbathing nude, he was in the presence of others. See Schramel, 581 N.W.2d at 403 (holding that act may still be lewd even though it is intended to gratify and not offend others). Although the state could satisfy the second element of section 617.23, subdivision 1(1) by proving either that the beach was a public place or the nudity occurred in the presence of others, the undisputed evidence establishes both.
Osowski’s second argument, that the district court’s findings are insufficient to support his conviction, is essentially a restatement of his first argument that the facts are inadequate to establish the statutory elements. The stipulated facts support the district court’s findings that Osowski willfully and lewdly exposed the private parts of his body in a public place and in a place where others were present. The evidence and the findings are sufficient to support Osowski’s conviction.