This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Filed August 16, 2005
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, Patric J.
Swift, Certified Student Attorney,
50 West Kellogg Blvd., Suite 315, St. Paul,
MN 55102 -1657 (for respondent)
Stuart, State Public Defender, Theodora K. Gaïtas,
Assistant State Public Defender, 2221
University Avenue Southeast, Suite 425, Minneapolis,
MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief
Judge, and Dietzen,
P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Brown appeals from his conviction
for third-degree criminal sexual conduct, asserting that his right to an
impartial jury was violated because three jurors had been victims of sexual
assault and two others had family members who were victims of sexual
assault. Appellant argues that although
his attorney did not challenge the jurors, the doctrine of implied bias
required their exclusion from the jury.
Because Minnesota law does not
recognize implied bias as one of the exclusive grounds for a challenge for
cause, we affirm.
D E C I S I O N
defendant has a right to be tried by an impartial jury. U.S. Const. amend. VI; Minn. Const. art. I, § 6. In order to prevail on a claim of jury bias,
a defendant must show that (1) the allegedly biased juror was subject to a
challenge for cause; (2) actual prejudice resulted from the district court’s
failure to excuse the juror for cause; and (3) an objection was made. State
v. Stufflebean, 329 N.W.2d 314, 317 (Minn.
1983); State v. Anderson, 603 N.W.2d 354, 356 (Minn. App.
1999), review denied (Minn. Mar. 14, 2000).
to challenge a juror for cause, a defendant must show one of eleven grounds set
forth in Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.02, subd. 5(1):
(1) a biased state of mind that satisfies the court that the proposed
juror cannot be impartial; (2) a felony conviction, unless civil rights have
been restored; (3) lack of qualifications necessary to be a competent juror;
(4) a physical or mental defect; (5) consanguinity or affinity to the ninth
degree, with the accused, victim, or attorneys; (6) certain other relationships
between the defendant or victim and the proposed juror, such as guardian and
ward; (7) being an adverse party to the defendant in some legal action;
(8) service on the grand jury that found the indictment or a related offense;
(9) service on a jury that tried another person for the same or related
offense; (10) service on a previous jury to try the same charges; or (11)
service as a juror on any case involving the defendant. Of these, a district court will presume bias
upon proof of the last ten grounds; a prospective juror’s actual state of mind
is relevant to only the first ground.
the exclusive grounds for a challenge for cause under Minnesota law. Stufflebean,
329 N.W.2d at 318. Given this principle
of exclusivity, we have specifically rejected a challenge for cause based on
status as a victim of a similar crime. Anderson,
603 N.W.2d at 356; see also State v. Roan,
532 N.W.2d 563, 568 (Minn.
1995) (concluding that crime victim status was not grounds for challenge for
cause under rule, wen there was no evidence that prospective juror could not be
fair and impartial).
courts and some other jurisdictions follow the doctrine of implied bias and infer
or presume bias in certain extreme situations when the average juror would have
a difficult time remaining impartial, such as when the juror has been the victim
of a similar crime. Anderson,
603 N.W.2d at 356 (citing Gonzales v.
Thomas, 99 F.3d 978, 987 (10th Cir. 1996); Person v. Miller, 854 F.2d 656, 664 (4th Cir. 1988), and other cases). When bias is implied, inferred, or presumed,
a defendant need not show that the prospective juror was actually biased; thus
the juror’s state of mind is irrelevant.
United States v. Torres,
128 F.3d 38, 45 (2nd Cir. 1997). It is
enough to show that the “average person in the position of the juror in
controversy would be prejudiced.” Id.
this court has acknowledged that the doctrine of implied bias “appears
philosophically sound,” to date it has not been adopted in Minnesota.
603 N.W.2d at 357. Rather, to challenge
for cause, the defendant must show either that one of the ten automatic grounds
set out in rule 26.02, subd. 5(1) exists, or that the juror has a state of mind
such that the court is satisfied that the juror cannot be impartial or
unprejudiced, which is the first ground set out in rule 26.02, subd. 5(1). Here, none of the automatic grounds for
removal for cause applies. With respect
to the first ground, each of the jurors was questioned at length about his or
her state of mind, was judged to be capable of being fair and impartial, and was
not challenged by appellant.
court defers to the district court’s decision as to whether a prospective juror
can be fair and impartial because such a decision involves issues of
credibility. State v. Logan,
535 N.W.2d 320, 323-24 (Minn.
1995). We therefore conclude that, given
our standard of review, as well as the thorough questioning of each juror on
the record, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it permitted
these jurors to remain on the jury.