This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






James C. Backstrom,

Dakota County Attorney,





One 1989 Range Rover,

V.I.N. SALHV1244KA379729,

MN License 295KFY,



Filed December 3, 2002

Reversed and Remanded

Kalitowski, Judge


Dakota County District Court

File No. C9018802


James C. Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney, James C. Crow, Assistant County Attorney, Dakota County Judicial Center, 1560 Highway 55, Hastings, MN 55033 (for respondent)


Stan Nathanson, 15560 FLW Blvd., #143, Scottsdale, AZ 85260 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Harten, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            The owner of appellant vehicle argues that the district court abused its discretion in granting summary judgment for respondent in the forfeiture action instituted after the owner was convicted of offering a forged check.  The owner also argues that the forfeiture of appellant vehicle constitutes an excessive fine under the Eighth Amendment.  We reverse and remand.



            A motion for summary judgment will be granted only when the pleadings, discovery responses, and affidavits show that there is no issue of material fact to be determined and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.  Fabio v. Bellomo, 504 N.W.2d 758, 761 (Minn. 1993).  On appeal, this court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.  Id.

            Here, the vehicle’s owner argues that, because he was convicted following an Alford plea, he did not admit to the specific facts underlying the crime or to having the requisite intent to use the vehicle in the commission of a crime under Minn. Stat. § 609.5312, subd. 1 (2000).  Thus, the owner argues that there are genuine issues of material fact and the district court improperly granted summary judgment to respondent in the forfeiture action.  We disagree.

            We reject the owner’s argument that because his conviction followed an Alford plea, there necessarily are disputed facts precluding summary judgment.  For purposes of a forfeiture action, a conviction following an Alford plea has the same effect as any other conviction.  Nevertheless, under the facts here, we conclude that further evidentiary proceedings are required.

            In Riley v. 1987 Station Wagon, 650 N.W.2d 441 (Minn. 2002), decided after the briefs in this appeal were submitted, the supreme court held that, to be subject to forfeiture under Minn. Stat. § 609.5312, a vehicle must have a “direct and substantial connection” to the underlying criminal activity.  Id. at 445.  The supreme court also noted that other jurisdictions have “declined to hold that transportation to the scene of criminal activity is sufficient to subject the vehicle to forfeiture.”  Id. at 444 (citations omitted).

            Based on the evidence before us, which includes a transcript of the owner’s Alford plea hearing, we conclude that we do not have an adequate record from which to review the connection appellant vehicle had to the owner’s commission of the underlying crime.  We therefore reverse the summary judgment and remand for an evidentiary hearing to determine if a forfeiture is appropriate under Riley.


            Appellant did not raise the excessive fines issue before the district court and this court will not review issues not properly raised at the district court level.  See, e.g., State v. Decker, 371 N.W.2d 256, 257 (Minn. App. 1985).  We therefore do not address this issue.

            Reversed and remanded.