This opinion will be unpublished and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
Michael Roland Starry,
St. Louis County District Court
File No. K3-03-300899
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800
Alan Mitchell, St. Louis County Attorney, Jeffrey M. Vlatkovich, Assistant County Attorney, 1810 12th Avenue East, Room 107D, Hibbing, MN 55746 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Forsberg, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
On appeal from his convictions of two counts of obstructing legal process and one count of disorderly conduct, appellant contends that: (1) the evidence presented was insufficient to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) the district court erred in imposing separate sentences for each of the convictions because they arose from a single behavioral incident; (3) he was denied effective assistance of counsel; (4) his right to counsel was violated when he was denied counsel at his arraignment; and (5) the admission of his confession at trial was a violation of his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Because we conclude that there was sufficient evidence to support appellant’s conviction, the district court did not err in imposing separate sentences, appellant has not met his burden to show that he was denied effective representation, appellant was represented by counsel at his arraignment, and the use of appellant’s confession did not violate his right against self-incrimination, we affirm.
D E C I S I O N
Sufficiency of Evidence
Michael Roland Starry argues
that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to establish proof beyond
a reasonable doubt to support his three convictions. When considering a claim of insufficient evidence, this
court’s review is limited to a careful assessment of the record to determine
whether “a jury could reasonably find the defendant guilty, given the facts in
evidence and the legitimate inferences which could be drawn from those facts.” State v. Robinson, 604 N.W.2d 355,
Appellant was convicted of misdemeanor obstructing legal process (at the scene) and gross-misdemeanor obstructing legal process (at the jail). Under Minn. Stat. § 609.50, subd. 1(2) (2002), whoever intentionally obstructs, resists, or interferes with a peace officer while the officer is engaged in the performance of official duties is guilty of a misdemeanor. Further, if the act is “accompanied by force or violence or the threat thereof,” the offense becomes a gross misdemeanor. Minn. Stat. § 609.50, subd. 2(2). Appellant was also convicted of disorderly conduct. Under Minn. Stat. § 609.72, subd. 1 (2002):
Whoever does any of the following in a public or private place, . . . knowing, or having reasonable grounds to know that it will, or will tend to, alarm, anger or disturb others or provoke an assault or breach of the peace, is guilty of disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor: (1) [e]ngages in brawling or fighting; or . . . (3) [e]ngages in offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous, or noisy conduct or in offensive, obscene, or abusive language tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others.
Appellant specifically argues regarding the obstructing-legal-process convictions that the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant, by his words and actions, substantially frustrated or hindered the officers in the performance of their duties as required by the statute. According to the testimony of the officers at trial, they arrived at the scene of a “possible domestic assault.” When the officers entered the duplex, they observed three females and a male standing on the landing outside the apartment. One of the women, L.M., told the officers that appellant had punched her in the head, to which appellant responded, “Yes, I did punch her but she punched me back as well.” Because appellant appeared angry and agitated, the officers asked appellant to step outside, but appellant refused. When the officers asked again, appellant responded, “F--k that, I ain’t going anywhere.” Appellant resisted when the officers attempted to handcuff him for refusing to cooperate. Once the handcuffs were secured, appellant used his shoulder to push the officer, who was escorting him outside, into the wall. The officer restrained appellant against the door and repeatedly instructed him to quit resisting. Once outside, the officer restrained appellant on the ground to search him for weapons. While being searched, appellant attempted to head-butt and kick the officer, and looked directly into the officer’s eyes when he told him, “I know your family, I know where you live, and I’m going to f--k you up when I get out.”
At the jail, appellant told the officers, “I have a
third degree black belt and I’ll kick both of your f-----g a--es.” Appellant was brought to a cell, and when
officers ordered him to sit on the bed, appellant swung at one of the officers
as if to punch him. When the officers
determined that it would be necessary to move appellant to another cell because
the cell door would not close, appellant jumped up and told the officers, “I’ll
kick your f-----g a--.” One of the officers grabbed appellant by the
shoulders to block any punches and delivered a knee strike to appellant’s thigh
which brought appellant to the floor long enough for the officer to gain
control of appellant’s limbs and move him safely to another cell. The officer received a bleeding injury to his
hand and an injury to his back as a result of his confrontation with
appellant. Under the applicable
standard of review – the weight and credibility of the witnesses’ testimony at
trial is for the jury to determine – we must assume that the jury believed the
Finally, the evidence supports appellant’s disorderly-conduct conviction in two ways. First, the officers were called to the scene due to appellant’s physical altercation with L.M., and when the officers arrived at the scene, appellant admitted to striking L.M. Second, when the officers attempted to find out what had happened, appellant began arguing with L.M. in the presence of the officers. Again, we must assume that the jury believed the officers’ testimony. Thus, there was sufficient evidence to support appellant’s convictions.
Single Behavioral Incident
argues that the district court erred in imposing separate sentences for each of
the convictions because they arose from a single behavioral incident. When a person’s conduct constitutes more than
one criminal offense, he may be punished for only one of the offenses. Minn. Stat. § 609.035, subd. 1
(2002). The purpose of this statute is
to limit punishment to a single sentence where a single behavioral incident
results in the violation of multiple criminal statutes. State
v. Brown, 597 N.W.2d 299, 305 (Minn. App. 1999), review denied (Minn. Sept. 14, 1999). Multiple punishment means that multiple
sentences, including concurrent sentences, are barred when Minn. Stat.
§ 609.035 applies.
The facts of this case lead to the reasonable conclusion that the offenses were separated in time, place, and criminal objective. The disorderly conduct charge resulted from appellant’s physical altercation with L.M. prior to the officers’ arrival and arguing with L.M. in the presence of the officers. The charge of obstructing legal process at the scene arose when the officers asked appellant to step outside, appellant refused and resisted arrest while verbally assaulting the officers. Finally, the charge of obstructing legal process at the jail arose when appellant refused to cooperate when the officers attempted to place him into his cell. Each offense was committed at a different time, at a different place, and had a different criminal objective. Because it was reasonable for the district court to conclude that the offenses did not arise from a single behavioral incident, the district court did not err in imposing separate sentences for the convictions.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
Appellant argues that
his public defender acted with “gross negligence and incompetence” by failing
to introduce evidence that supported his case.
succeed on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, appellant must show
that his trial counsel’s representation “fell below an objective standard of
reasonableness, and that a reasonable probability exists that the outcome would
have been different but for counsel’s errors.”
Boitnott v. State, 631 N.W.2d 362, 370 (
Right to Counsel
Appellant also argues that his right to counsel was violated when he was denied counsel at his arraignment. This issue, however, is meritless, considering that a review of the record shows that appellant applied for and was appointed a public defender to defend him at his arraignment hearing. Appellant completed an application for a public defender on the date of the arraignment, and an order appointing the public defender was issued. Further, a memorandum from a probation officer regarding release recommendations for appellant was submitted to the court at appellant’s arraignment and was copied to appellant’s public defender, who was the only attorney that represented appellant throughout the proceedings.
Privilege Against Self-Incrimination
Finally, appellant argues that the
admission of his confession was a violation of his Fifth Amendment privilege
against self-incrimination because he was never read his Miranda rights. The Miranda warnings are required in order to protect a defendant’s
Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI § 10.