This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Filed June 21, 2005
Gordon W. Shumaker, Judge
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 03057680
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County Attorney, Linda K. Jenny, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)
Stuart, State Public Defender, Michael F. Cromett, Assistant State Public
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge; Willis, Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
GORDON W. SHUMAKER, Judge
Appellant Tafari Duffers appeals from his conviction and sentence for aggravated robbery and felon in possession of a firearm. Duffers argues that the district court abused its discretion in admitting his prior convictions for impeachment purposes. Duffers also argues that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel because his attorney incorrectly advised him on the presumptive sentence, and, but for the erroneous advice, he would have accepted the state’s earlier plea offer. Because there was no abuse of discretion and because Duffers is not entitled to the relief requested, we affirm.
August 10, 2003, a man robbed another at gunpoint on a
The state charged Duffers with aggravated robbery and prohibited person in possession of a firearm from the date of the robbery and prohibited person in possession of a firearm on the date of his arrest. The latter charge was ultimately severed for trial.
The state offered that, in return for a plea of guilty, it would recommend a sentence cap of 60 months. Duffers contends that this attorney advised him that the presumptive sentence for the robbery charge was 68 months. Considering Duffers’s criminal history, the correct presumptive sentence was 98 months.
Duffers contends that he relied on his attorney’s advice about the presumptive sentence and elected to have a jury trial. Before that trial, which began on February 20, 2004, the district court ruled that the state would be allowed to impeach Duffers with prior felony convictions for fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle in 2002 and controlled substance crime in 2003.
The jury found Duffers guilty of both charges from August 10, 2003, and the court sentenced him to 98 months on the robbery charge and a concurrent 60 months on the firearm charge. Alleging that the court abused its discretion by allowing the prior convictions for impeachment and that he received ineffective assistance from his trial counsel, Duffers appealed.
D E C I S I O N
1. Admission of the prior convictions
rulings rest within the district court’s discretion and will not be disturbed
absent a clear abuse of discretion. State
v. Ihnot, 575 N.W.2d 581, 584 (
(1) the impeachment value of the prior crime, (2) the date of the conviction and the defendant’s subsequent history, (3) the similarity of the past crime with the charged crime (the greater the similarity, the greater the reason for not permitting use of the prior crime to impeach), (4) the importance of the defendant’s testimony, and (5) the centrality of the credibility issue.
Jones, 271 N.W.2d 534, 538 (
[T]he convictions are more recent than originally indicated, there isn’t any reason why the State should not be allowed to impeach. These are not crimes similar to those charged. They are recent in time and their use to impeach the defendant would not unduly prejudice his ability to testify, not with the fact that credibility presumably will be an issue in this case.
Duffers argues that the district court failed to properly consider the Jones factors before admitting his prior felony convictions. He asserts that the convictions provided no impeachment value and improperly influenced the jury given the importance of his testimony and credibility in the case. Although the district court did not make detailed findings on each of the Jones factors, the court did consider the factors before admitting Duffers’s previous felony convictions. The court determined that because the crimes were recent, were not similar to those with which Duffers was charged, and, because credibility was an issue, prior convictions would be probative. Where credibility is a central issue, “a greater case can be made for admitting the impeachment evidence, because the need for the evidence is greater.” Ihnot, 575 N.W.2d at 587 (quotation omitted). Further, the admission of the prior convictions did not prevent Duffers from testifying at trial or from arguing to the jury that the convictions had little or no probative value on the issue of credibility. The district court did not abuse its discretion in ruling that Duffers’s prior felony convictions were admissible for impeachment.
2. Ineffective assistance of counsel
Duffers further argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel during the plea process because his attorney misinformed him as to the correct presumptive sentence for the charged offenses, and he then rejected a plea offer of a recommended 60-month sentence.
To prevail on a claim of ineffective
assistance of counsel, the defendant must show that his attorney’s
representation “‘fell below an objective standard of reasonableness’ and ‘that
there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s unprofessional
errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.’” Gates v. State, 398 N.W.2d 558, 561 (
Duffers is unable to prove that “but
for the counsel’s errors, the outcome of the proceedings would have been
different.” King v. State, 562,
N.W.2d 791, 795 (
in State v. Ferraro, this court determined that the failure of the defendant’s
counsel to correctly calculate the defendant’s criminal-history score did not
constitute ineffective assistance of counsel.
403 N.W.2d 845, 848 (