This opinion will be unpublished and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,
Rodney Alan Mattmiller,
Filed June 8, 2004
Washington County District Court
File No. K0-02-2092
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County Attorney, Jean E. Burdorf, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)
William J. Mauzy, John M. Huberty, Mauzy Law Firm, 510 First Avenue North, Suite 610, Minneapolis, MN 55403 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Minge, Presiding Judge, Shumaker, Judge, and Crippen, Judge.
Beginning in the early 1980s and continuing through the 2000 tax year, appellant Rodney Alan Mattmiller, a pilot for Northwest Airlines (NWA), claimed Washington as his state of residence, but he does not own or rent any real property in Washington. Washington does not have a state income tax. From 1992 until 2001, NWA based appellant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Appellant owns a home in Hastings, Minnesota, in which his wife and children live. Appellant owns three vehicles, all of which are licensed in the state of Oregon; Oregon does not have a motor vehicle tax.
On November 13, 2001, authorities executed a search warrant at appellant’s Hastings residence. During the search, authorities discovered evidence indicating that appellant is a resident of Minnesota, not Washington. Following execution of the search warrant, appellant was charged with five counts of filing fraudulent Minnesota income tax returns during the tax years 1996-2000, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 289A.63, subd. 2(a) (2000); five counts of tax evasion during the tax years 1996-2000, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 289A.63, subd. 1(b) (2000); and two counts of failure to pay motor vehicle tax, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 297B.10(a) (2000).
Appellant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the definitions of resident in Minn. Stat. § 290.01, subd. 7 (2000) and Minn. R. 8001.0300, subp. 1 (2001), are unconstitutionally vague. Appellant also filed a motion in limine requesting an order barring respondent State of Minnesota from presenting evidence that he evaded Minnesota income taxes, arguing that federal law preempts Minnesota law. The district court denied both motions.
Prior to trial, respondent filed a motion to admit evidence of other bad acts. Specifically, respondent sought to admit two employment disciplinary incidents occurring in 1991 while appellant was employed as a pilot for NWA. Respondent also sought to admit evidence that appellant falsely claimed to be an Oregon resident on a 1996 vehicle registration application, and appellant allegedly submitted fraudulent travel vouchers to the United States Air Force. The district court admitted evidence of all of these incidents.
At the close of the evidence, the district court instructed the jury that appellant was required to keep adequate records to prove that he spent greater than one-half of the tax year outside of the state. Appellant objected, arguing that this impermissibly shifted the burden of proof to him.
The jury found appellant guilty of three counts of filing false or fraudulent returns, one count of failure to pay motor vehicle tax, and three counts of tax evasion. The evasion counts were merged under Minn. Stat. § 609.035 (2000), and appellant was sentenced on the four remaining counts. The sentences were stayed, and the district court required appellant to serve 120 days. All sentences were to run concurrently, but the stay conditions required appellant to serve 30 days in the in-custody sentence-to-serve program, followed by 90 days in the out-of-custody sentence-to-serve program. Appellant was also required to pay the unpaid taxes, along with interest, penalties, restitution, and fines.
After the jury returned their guilty verdicts, one of the jurors informed appellant’s counsel that the jury made a mistake in finding appellant guilty of “willfully” failing to pay taxes under the three tax evasion counts, rather than “knowingly” failing to pay taxes. Eleven of the twelve jurors confirmed the mistake, and appellant moved for a Schwartz hearing. The district court denied this motion.
Appellant challenges his convictions arguing that (1) the district court erred in admitting evidentiary items as Spreigl evidence; (2) the district court impermissibly shifted the burden of proof by instructing the jury that appellant was required to keep adequate records; (3) the evidence was insufficient to support the guilty verdicts; (4) Minn. Stat. § 290.01, subd. 7 (2000) and Minn. R. 8001.0300 are preempted by federal law; (5) Minn. Stat. § 290.01, subd. 7, and Minn. R. 8001.0300 are unconstitutionally vague; and (6) the district court erred in denying appellant’s request for a Schwartz hearing.
Appellant argues that he was prejudiced by the admission of false statements made on Oregon vehicle registration applications, his alleged submission of fraudulent travel vouchers to the U.S. Air Force, and respondent’s reference to these items during closing arguments. Evidence of other crimes or bad acts is characterized as “Spreigl evidence.” State v. Kennedy, 585 N.W.2d 385, 389 (Minn. 1998). The admission of Spreigl evidence lies within the sound discretion of the district court and will not be reversed absent a clear abuse of discretion. State v. Spaeth, 552 N.W.2d 187, 193 (Minn. 1996). To prevail, an appellant must show error and prejudice resulting from the error. State v. Loebach, 310 N.W.2d 58, 64 (Minn. 1981).
Here, respondent filed a motion to admit evidence of the Oregon vehicle registration and travel vouchers as Spreigl evidence. The district court allowed this evidence under Minn. R. Evid. 404(b), which states in relevant part:
Evidence of another crime, wrong, or act is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith. It may however, be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident.
Appellant argues that the district court’s rulings should be reversed because it stated in its order that the evidence is probative to both the appellant’s “credibility as a witness and also reflects on a pattern or practice regarding his disclosure of accurate information over an extensive period of time.” But a respondent on appeal can defend a district court’s ruling on any ground that the law and record permit without expanding the relief that has been granted. State v. Grunig, 660 N.W.2d 134, 136 (Minn. 2003). Thus, the district court’s decision must stand if the evidentiary items are admissible under any rule of evidence.
As respondent asserts, courts distinguish between Spreigl evidence and evidence offered to prove the elements of the charged offense. See State v. Woffard, 262 Minn. 112, 118, 114 N.W.2d 267, 271 (1962) (declaring right of state to “make out its whole case against the accused on any evidence which is otherwise relevant upon the issue of the defendant’s guilt of the crime with which he was charged”). This evidence-law principle applies even though the facts tend to prove commission of another crime, such as “where two or more offenses are linked together in point of time or circumstances so that one cannot be fully shown without proving the other, or where evidence of other crimes constitutes part of the res gestae.” Id.
Appellant was charged with evading the sales tax owed on the purchase of a Chevrolet Blazer in 1996 and a Chrysler Town and Country Minivan in 1999. Minn. Stat. § 297B.02 (2000) imposes a tax on the purchase price of vehicles required to be registered in Minnesota. And Minn. Stat. § 297B.06 (2000) states that registration plates shall not be issued unless the tax imposed by Minn. Stat. § 297B.02 is paid to the motor vehicle registrar. Evidence at trial indicated that appellant drove both vehicles while in Minnesota; appellant is not an Oregon resident. Under these circumstances, appellant could not have legally driven those vehicles in Minnesota unless they were registered. From the introduction of the Oregon vehicle registration forms, the jury could have properly inferred that appellant licensed those vehicles in Oregon so that he could obtain license plates on the vehicles while avoiding Minnesota tax. The Oregon vehicle registration application is relevant to prove facts that tend to establish elements of the charged offense, and the district court did not err in admitting this evidence.
Similarly, we conclude that the military travel vouchers were properly introduced into evidence to prove elements of the charged offenses. A necessary element of the crimes appellant was charged with was that he was a resident of Minnesota at relevant times. To prove that appellant was a resident, it was necessary for respondent to prove that appellant was either domiciled in Minnesota, or domiciled outside Minnesota while maintaining a place of abode in the state and spending in the aggregate more than one-half of the tax year in Minnesota. Minn. Stat. § 290.01, subd. 7 (2000).
The facts regarding submission of military vouchers were admitted into evidence to prove the number of days that appellant was present in Minnesota. They were relevant to prove a required element of the charged offenses. Respondent also introduced NWA documents to prove the days appellant spent in Minnesota. There were inconsistencies between the travel vouchers and NWA documents; appellant addressed these inconsistencies in his testimony, and he was questioned on cross-examination as to the accuracy of the vouchers. We conclude that evidence of the military travel vouchers is relevant to prove facts that tend to establish elements of the charged offense and the district court did not err in admitting this evidence. And the record shows that error, if any, caused by statements made by respondent during closing argument on the travel vouchers, was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.
Appellant also argues that the district court erred in admitting evidence of previous employment disciplinary incidents. These evidentiary items were admitted under Minn. R. Evid. 404(b). While we conclude that these may not be admissible under rule 404(b), the district court’s decision must stand if the incidents are admissible under any rule of evidence. Grunig, 660 N.W.2d at 136.
One of the disciplinary acts resulted from appellant making a false representation to a senior pilot and the other from appellant allowing his then-girlfriend to use his travel pass. While neither of these acts tends to prove motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident, they are admissible to attack appellant’s credibility under Minn. R. Evid. 608(b).
Rule 608(b) states that specific instances of conduct of a witness may be used to attack a witness’s credibility on cross-examination if the conduct concerns the witness’s character for truthfulness. The rule does not allow extrinsic evidence to prove prior bad acts and grants the district court discretion to exclude evidence that is more prejudicial than probative. No extrinsic evidence was offered to prove the two incidents of misconduct, and both acts involved dishonesty. They concerned appellant’s propensity for truthfulness.
Appellant argues that evidence of the disciplinary incidents lacks probative value because they are old. But unlike rule 609, rule 608(b) does not contain any time limitation to the admission of evidence attacking the credibility of a witness. And the district court acted within its discretion in ruling the evidence more probative than prejudicial. Therefore, we conclude that the district court did not err in admitting evidence of the disciplinary incidents.
Appellant also argues that the district court committed prejudicial error by admitting into evidence and including in its jury instructions the rule that requires any person claiming to be a nonresident of the state to “have available for examination adequate records to substantiate that more than one-half of the tax year was spent outside Minnesota.” Minn. R. 8001.0300, subp. 5 (2001). Appellant claims that the rule impermissibly shifted to him the burden of proving his innocence.
Evidentiary rulings rest within the district court’s broad discretion and will not be reversed absent an abuse of that discretion. State v. Lee, 645 N.W.2d 459, 465 (Minn. 2002). Jury instructions also lie within the discretion of the district court and will not be reversed absent an abuse of discretion. State v. Cole, 542 N.W.2d 43, 50 (Minn. 1996). A defendant claiming that the district court abused its discretion in admitting evidence bears the burden of proving both error and prejudice. Lee, 645 N.W.2d at 465. An error is prejudicial only if it “substantially influenced the jury to convict.” Id.
In every criminal prosecution, the state has the burden of proving the charged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Robinson, 604 N.W.2d 355, 362 (Minn. 2000). The tax evasion charges in this case required respondent to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant was a resident of Minnesota. The court so instructed the jury.
Minn. R. 8001.0300, subp. 5, places an administrative burden on taxpayers and permits an inference that taxpayers who do not maintain adequate records might have been lying about their nonresident status. State v. Enyeart, 676 N.W.2d 311, 325 (Minn. App. 2004), review denied (Minn. May 18, 2004). “But the rule does not release the state of its obligation of proving beyond a reasonable doubt, with or without the taxpayer’s records, that the taxpayer spent more than one-half the tax year in the state.” Id. “And a conviction could not be based merely on evidence that the taxpayer failed to maintain adequate records.” Id.
In Enyeart, a factually similar case, this court recently held that admission of Minn. R. 8001.0300, subp. 5, is not error. Id., 676 N.W.2d at 325. This is true, this court held, even though the jury is able to draw negative inferences from the taxpayer’s failure to maintain records. Id. These inferences are acceptable “when they have a reasonable relation to the circumstances of life as we know them, and the facts are likely to be much more easily provable by the defendant than by the state, and the nature of the charge . . . makes it fair to call on the defendant to produce evidence.” Id. (quotation omitted). The district court did not err in admitting the rule into evidence.
We also conclude that instructing the jury on the rule was not error. The rule had been properly admitted into evidence, the district court properly instructed the jury on the burden of proof, and the instruction on Minn. R. 8001.0300, subp. 5, did not occur in the portion of the jury instructions on burden of proof. The district court did not err in instructing the jury and, in light of the overwhelming evidence of guilt, any error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.
Appellant also argues that the evidence is insufficient to support the jury’s verdict. In considering a claim of insufficient evidence, this court’s review is limited to a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the conviction, is sufficient to allow the jurors to reach the verdict that 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). This is especially true when resolution of the matter depends mainly on conflicting testimony. State v. Pieschke, 295 N.W. 2d 580, 584 (Minn. 1980). The reviewing court 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).
Here, there is substantial evidence to support the jury’s verdict finding appellant guilty of failure to pay motor vehicle tax. Appellant admitted at trial that he gave false information on an Oregon vehicle registration application. Even though he testified that it was not his intent to avoid Minnesota motor vehicle tax, the jury could have inferred that appellant registered his vehicles in Oregon to avoid paying the tax. Credibility determinations are left to the jury.
There is also substantial evidence to support the guilty verdicts on the other six counts. Appellant was required to pay Minnesota state income tax if he either was domiciled in Minnesota or maintained a place of abode in the state and spent in the aggregate more than one-half of the days in the relevant tax years in Minnesota. Minn. Stat. § 290.01, subd. 7. First, there is adequate evidence to suggest that appellant is domiciled in Minnesota because his family is in Minnesota, which creates a presumption that appellant is also domiciled in Minnesota. Minn. R. 8001.0300, subp. 2. The factors used to determine domicile also indicated that appellant was domiciled in Minnesota. Minn. R. 8001.0300, subp. 3. For instance, (1) appellant has a permanent job based in Minnesota; (2) appellant recently moved into a new house in Minnesota and sold real property that he previously owned in Washington; (3) appellant does not rent any property in Washington; (4) the only real property appellant owns is in Minnesota; (5) appellant’s vehicles are insured and physically located in Minnesota; (6) none of appellant’s vehicles are licensed or located in Washington; (7) appellant receives mail in Minnesota and has mail forwarded to his Minnesota address; (8) appellant made statements on mortgage applications indicating that he is a Minnesota resident; and (9) several items discovered during the execution of a search warrant at appellant’s Minnesota residence indicated that it was his permanent home.
It is undisputed that appellant owns a home in Minnesota, and respondent introduced into evidence documentation to support the fact that appellant spent more than half of the days in the relevant tax years within Minnesota. Numerous flight documents from both NWA and the United States Air Force support a jury finding that appellant was present in Minnesota for more than 183 days during each of the years for which he was convicted for not paying Minnesota income tax. The evidence is sufficient to support the guilty verdicts.
Appellant argues that 49 U.S.C. § 40116 (2000) preempts the state’s method of calculating days spent in Minnesota in cases involving the nondomiciliary status of air-carrier employees. Appellant also argues that the definitions of residency in Minn. Stat. § 290.01, subd. 7, and Minn. R. 8001.0300 are unconstitutionally vague.
In Enyeart, this court addressed the issue of whether 49 U.S.C. § 40116 preempts Minn. Stat. § 290.01, subd. 7, holding that Minn. Stat. § 290.01, subd. 7, was not in “irreconcilable conflict” with 49 U.S.C. § 40116. Enyeart, 676 N.W.2d at 323, 325. Therefore, we concluded that 49 U.S.C. § 40116 did not preempt Minnesota law. Enyeart, 676 N.W.2d at 325. Similarly, for the reasons discussed in Enyeart, we conclude that Minn. Stat. § 290.01, subd. 7, is not preempted by federal law, and the district court did not err in denying appellant’s motion.
In Enyeart, the defendant also challenged Minn. Stat. § 290.01, subd. 7, and Minn. R. 8001.0300, subp. 1, on the grounds that their definitions of “residency” are void for vagueness. 676 N.W.2d at 318. We held the definitions of residency are not unconstitutionally vague on their face and that they were not vague as applied to the defendant. Id. at 321-22. Here, as in Enyeart, the factors used to determine residency so overwhelmingly indicate that appellant is a Minnesota resident that a reasonable person in his position would have adequate notice as to what the law commands. The definitions of residency in Minn. Stat. § 290.01, subd. 7, and Minn. R. 8001.0300 are not unconstitutionally vague on their face or as applied to appellant.
Finally, appellant argues that the district court erred in denying his request for a Schwartz hearing. The district court should be liberal in granting a hearing, but the defendant must first present evidence that, if unchallenged, would warrant the conclusion that jury misconduct occurred. State v. Rainer, 411 N.W.2d 490, 498 (Minn. 1987).
The purpose of a Schwartz hearing is to investigate potential juror misconduct and prevent the practice of attorneys contacting and questioning jurors after a verdict has been rendered. Arney v. Helbig, 383 N.W.2d 4, 6 (Minn. App. 1986). But Minn. R. Evid. 606(b) does not allow a court to inquire whether any juror based his or her verdict in part on a mistaken statement of the law. Pajunen v. Monson Trucking, Inc., 612 N.W.2d 173, 176 (Minn. App. 2000), review denied (Minn. Aug. 15, 2000).
Rule 606(b) only allows inquiry into “whether extraneous prejudicial information was improperly brought to the jury’s attention, or whether any outside influence was improperly brought to bear upon any juror, or as to any threats of violence or violent acts brought to bear on jurors, from whatever source, to reach a verdict.” The evidence indicates that the jurors may have misunderstood the law. Appellant argues that the jurors made a mistake in finding appellant guilty of “willfully” rather than “knowingly” failing to pay taxes. This type of mistake would constitute a misunderstanding of the law for which rule 606(b) does not allow inquiry. The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying appellant’s motion for a Schwartz hearing.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.