This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ß 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Lazaro Guadalupe Ramos,
McLeod County District Court
File No. K597000119
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Michael K. Junge, McLeod County Attorney, Mark A. Metz, Assistant County Attorney, 830 East Eleventh Street, Suite 214, Glencoe, MN 55336 (for respondent)
Sergio R. Andrade, Martinez & Andrade, LLC, 301 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 377, Minneapolis, MN 55415 (for appellant)
††††††††††† Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D†† O P I N I O N
††††††††††† Appellant Lazaro Ramos argues that the evidence at trial was not sufficient to support his conviction of first-degree assault and that the district court erred in failing to investigate and remedy a jurorís out-of-court exposure to statements about the case.† We affirm.
††††††††††† Appellant argues the evidence at trial was not sufficient to support the juryís determination that he was guilty of first-degree assault, contending it was speculative, circumstantial, and did not exclude every possible hypothesis except guilt.† We disagree.
The standard for overturning a conviction for insufficiency of the evidence is ďa high one.Ē† State v. Huss, 506 N.W.2d 290, 292 (Minn. 1993).† In considering a claim of insufficient evidence, a reviewing courtís only inquiry is whether, on the facts in the record and legitimate inferences drawn from those facts, a jury could reasonably conclude that the defendant was guilty.† State v. Bias, 419 N.W.2d 480, 484 (Minn. 1988).† The court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution and assume the jury believed the prosecutionís witnesses and disbelieved any contrary evidence.† Id.† The state need not present evidence that excludes all possibility that another person committed the crime; it need only make such other theories appear unreasonable.† See State v. Anderson, 379 N.W.2d 70, 78 (Minn. 1985).
††††††††††† Here, the state presented both direct and circumstantial evidence.† The state introduced DNA evidence that indicated the victimís blood was on appellantís shirt.†† Although appellant was taken into custody while talking with another suspect, the other suspect did not have the victimís blood on him.† Thus, contrary to appellantís argument, the evidence did not support his theory that the blood on his clothes came from the other suspect.† Appellant also had small cuts and dried blood on his hands that were consistent with his participation in the assault.† The state also introduced evidence establishing a possible motive for the assault.
In addition, four witnesses identified appellant, while he was on the street, as one of the assailants.† One of these witnesses picked appellant out of a photo line-up and testified at trial.† Appellant argues these identifications are unreliable because it was too dark for a witness to identify him and the photo line-up identification was suggestive because appellant was wearing a blue denim shirt, similar, if not the same as the one he was wearing when he was arrested.† But ď[d]eciding the credibility of witnesses is generally the exclusive province of the jury.Ē† State v. Doppler, 590 N.W.2d 627, 635 (Minn. 1999) (citations omitted).† Appellant made these same arguments at trial and they were rejected by the jury.† We conclude that the evidence presented is sufficient to support appellantís conviction.
††††††††††† Appellant argues the district court erred by failing to investigate and remedy two jurorsí possible out-of-court exposure to statements about the case, contending it resulted in an unfair trial.† We disagree.
††††††††††† The record indicates the prosecutor brought to the courtís attention the fact that two jurors may have overheard the prosecutor talking with a witness out of the courtroom.† The prosecutor stated that he did not think the jurors heard them and that he stopped talking as soon as he saw the jurors.† The court asked the jurors the next day if anyone heard, saw, or read anything outside the courtroom that they feel should be brought to the courtís attention.† None of the jurors raised any concerns related to the issue at hand.† Moreover, appellant did not request that the court inquire further or request a Schwartz hearing.
On these facts, we conclude that the court took appropriate steps to determine if any jurors had been exposed to outside influences.† Moreover, by failing to request further action, appellant consented to the district courtís handling of the issue.† We thus conclude the district court did not err and appellant was not denied his right to a fair trial.