This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).





State of Minnesota,


Marco Antonio Lopez,


Filed June 14, 2005


Stoneburner, Judge


Rice County District Court

File No. K7041514


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Suite 1800, NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and


G. Paul Beaumaster, Rice County Attorney, Nathaniel J. Reitz, Assistant County Attorney, 218 Northwest Third Street, Faribault, MN 55021 (for appellant)


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Suite 425, 2221 University Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis, MN 55414; and


Mark D. Nyvold, Special Assistant Public Defender, Suite W-1610, 332 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent)


            Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Hudson, Judge; and Dietzen, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N



            Appellant state moved to add a charge of second-degree controlled-substance crime to its complaint against respondent Marco Antonio Lopez, arguing that the mobile home from which respondent allegedly sold drugs is on the same “city block” as a municipal park and that the southernmost portion of the mobile-home court in which Lopez’s mobile home is located is within 300 feet of the municipal park, satisfying the element in Minn. Stat. § 152.022, subd. 1(6)(i) (2002), that the alleged sale took place within a “park zone.”  The district court denied the state’s motion.  We affirm.



            Respondent Marco Antonio Lopez was arrested after allegedly selling 0.6 grams of cocaine to a confidential, reliable informant who was working with Northfield police.  Lopez was charged with one count of controlled-substance crime in the third degree in violation of Minn. Stat. § 152.023, subd. 1(1) (2002). 

            The alleged sale took place in a mobile home located in a mobile-home court that is bounded on the north by the Northfield city limits and the Rice-Dakota county line, on the west by a railroad track, on the east by Dresden Avenue, and on the south by six lots, one of which contains a municipal park.  Dresden Avenue curves to become the southern border of these six lots.  The mobile home from which the alleged sale was made is located in the northwest corner of the mobile-home court, more than 300 feet from the municipal park. 

            The district court denied appellant’s motion to add a charge of second-degree controlled-substance crime to the complaint against Lopez, holding that, as a matter of law, the alleged sale did not take place in a “park zone.”  This appeal followed.



            This case involves interpretation of a statute, which this court reviews de novo without deference to the district court.  State v. Collins, 580 N.W.2d 36, 41 (Minn. App. 1998), review denied (Minn. July 18, 1998).  Minn. Stat. § 152.022, subd. 1(6)(i) (2002) provides in relevant part that a person who unlawfully sells any amount of a Schedule I or II narcotic drug in a “park zone” is guilty of controlled-substance crime in the second degree. 

 “Park zone” means an area designated as a public park by the federal government, the state, a local unit of government, a park district board, or a park and recreation board in a city of the first class.  “Park zone” includes the area within 300 feet or one city block, whichever distance is greater, of the park boundary.


Minn. Stat. § 152.01, subd. 12a (2002).

            The state first asserts that, applying the definition of “city block” as “a part of a city or town that is surrounded by streets or avenues on at least three sides,”[1] the mobile-home court and the municipal park “are on the same block.”  Even if we were to agree with this definition of “city block,”[2] the area described by the state does not meet the definition because it is only bounded on two sides by streets or avenues.  We find no merit in the state’s assertion that the mobile-home court and the municipal park in this case are located on the same “city block.” 

The state next asserts that even if the mobile-home court and municipal park are not on the same city block, the mobile-home court is “within” one “city block” of the park boundary.  But the state’s focus on the location of the mobile-home court rather than the location of the sale is misplaced because the statute requires that the sale must occur within the park zone in order for the statute to apply.  Assuming that the private streets within the mobile-home court enclose “city blocks,” it is clear from the aerial photograph in the record that the mobile home from which the alleged sale was made is not within one city block of the park.  Because it is undisputed that the sale occurred more than 300 feet from the municipal park, we conclude that the district court did not err by denying the state’s motion to add to the complaint a count of second-degree controlled-substance crime based on an alleged sale within a park zone.


[1] See State v. Terrell, No. C1-95-1808, 1996 WL 330509 (Minn. App. June 18, 1996), review denied (Minn. Aug. 20, 1996) (unpublished) (rejecting argument that “city block” as used in Minn. Stat. § 152.022, subd. 1(6)(i), is unconstitutionally vague because Terrell failed to establish the statute’s unconstitutionality as applied to the facts of his case).

[2] The definition in Terrell was taken from the 1990 6th edition of Black’s Law Dictionary definition of “block.”  Id. at * 4. The 7thedition defines “block” as “a municipal area enclosed by streets.”  Black’s Law Dictionary 164 (7th ed. 1999).