This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Rejean Edward Salinas,
Filed August 26, 2003
Ramsey County District Court
File No. K302966
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Darrell C. Hill, Assistant County Attorney, 50 West Kellogg Blvd., Suite 315, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Theodora Gaïtas, Assistant Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge; Schumacher, Judge; and Parker, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant Rejean Salinas challenges his conviction of first-degree burglary, arguing that the district court abused its discretion by excluding his surrebuttal testimony and that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
Appellant requested to testify in surrebuttal to counter the testimony of one of the state’s rebuttal witnesses. Appellant argues his testimony would have established the bias of that witness. A defendant may offer evidence to rebut the prosecution’s rebuttal evidence. Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.03, subd. 11(g) (2002). The admissibility of rebuttal evidence is within the discretion of the district court. State v. Eling, 355 N.W.2d 286, 291 (Minn. 1984). And the Confrontation Clause generally allows a defendant the opportunity to reveal bias on the part of a witness. State v. Lanz-Terry, 535 N.W.2d 635, 640 (Minn. 1995). But even relevant bias evidence may not be admissible, and a court may properly exclude evidence which is “only marginally useful for this purpose.” Lanz-Terry, 535 N.W.2d at 640.
Appellant testified about the nature of his employment at a bar. The owner of the bar testified in rebuttal and contradicted several of appellant’s statements. To rebut the owner’s testimony, appellant presented the testimony of another person who worked in the bar. Appellant then asked the district court to allow him to retake the stand in response to further rebut the owner’s testimony. After hearing an offer of proof on the proposed testimony, the district court determined that the testimony would not establish bias, would exceed the scope of the rebuttal witness’s testimony, and would not be relevant.
After reviewing the transcripts, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding appellant’s surrebuttal testimony. The testimony was not relevant to appellant’s crime, and its exclusion did not hamper appellant’s ability to present his defense that he entered the victim’s house by mistake. Further, appellant’s attorney cross-examined the bar owner and had the opportunity to fully develop the facts that demonstrate the alleged bias. Thus, appellant’s surrebuttal testimony would have been redundant and would have been only marginally useful to show any bias on the part of the bar owner.
In considering a claim of insufficient evidence, appellate review “is limited to a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence, when viewed in a light most favorable to the conviction,” is sufficient to allow the jurors to reach the verdict they did. State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989). The reviewing court must assume the “jury believed the state’s witnesses and disbelieved any evidence to the contrary.” State v. Moore, 438 N.W.2d 101, 108 (Minn. 1989). “We will not disturb the verdict if the jury, acting with due regard for the presumption of innocence” and the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, could reasonably conclude the defendant was guilty of the charged offense. State v. Alton, 432 N.W.2d 754, 756 (Minn. 1988).
Appellant was convicted of first-degree burglary under Minn. Stat. § 609.582, subd. 1(a) (2002), which provides that a person is guilty of burglary if he enters into an occupied dwelling without consent and commits a crime or intends to commit a crime within. Appellant argues the state did not present sufficient evidence to support a finding that he committed a crime or intended to commit a crime within the victim’s home. We disagree.
Intent can be proved by circumstantial evidence. State v. Roehl, 409 N.W.2d 44, 46 (Minn. App. 1987). Inferences of intent can be drawn from a person’s words or actions in light of the surrounding circumstances. State v. Thompson, 544 N.W.2d 8, 11 (Minn. 1996). It is the province of the jury to weigh witness credibility, and a jury is not obligated to believe a defendant’s version of events. State v. Pieschke, 295 N.W.2d 580, 584 (Minn. 1980).
Here, appellant entered the victim’s home without consent at 3:00 a.m. The victim testified that he did not hear appellant knock or call out as he entered the house. Appellant had a sharp object in his pocket. Appellant was either wearing or put on a pair of gloves as he moved through the house. Appellant gave numerous inconsistent accounts of the incident that the jury heard through officers’ testimony and through tapes of telephone calls appellant made from jail. Although appellant claimed he entered the house by mistake, he had no witnesses to corroborate this story, and neither of the acquaintances appellant claimed were involved in the events had been seen since the night of the incident.
From the circumstantial evidence presented at trial, the jury could reasonably conclude that appellant entered the victim’s home with the intent to commit a crime. As noted above, the jury was not obligated to believe appellant’s explanation of events, and we will not disturb the jury’s credibility determinations. Pieschke, 295 N.W.2d at 584.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.