This opinion will be unpublished and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
Jean Marie Schulz,
a/k/a Jean Marie Reimer,
Filed March 28, 2006
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 04024237
Mike Hatch, Attorney General,
John M. Stuart, State Public
Defender, Lydia Villalva Lijó, Assistant Public Defender,
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Hudson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant challenges her enhanced conviction for offering a forged check, arguing that evidence that appellant presented a cashier’s check purchased by another and presented it for payment to her neighborhood bar, then promptly reimbursed the bar after the check was questioned, was insufficient to prove that she presented the check with intent to defraud. Because we conclude that the jury reasonably could have found that appellant offered the check with intent to defraud, we affirm.
The state charged appellant Jean Schulz with check forgery, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.631, subds. 2(1), 4(3)(b) (2002), and offering a forged check, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.631, subds. 3, 4(3)(b) (2002), based on her actions in offering an altered cashier’s check for payment at the St. Boni Inn, a bar in St. Bonifacius. At trial, the bartender testified that Schulz, a regular bar patron, presented the check to him for cashing. The check for $168 was issued by TCF Bank, but had both the identity of the payee and the memo line blotted out. When the bartender asked Schulz to endorse the check, he saw her begin to sign it but did not watch as she finished writing. He did not examine the endorsement but cashed the check because he knew Schulz and “it looked like an official check.”
The bar manager testified that, the next day, her father, who owned the bar, expressed concern about the check. The manager noticed the check had been altered by erasure of the “pay to the order” line, with “St. Boni Inn” written over the erasure. The memo line also had been erased. The manager determined that Schulz had cashed the check and noticed that the endorsed name on the back of the check did not appear to be Schulz’s. A few days later, when Schulz came into the bar, the manager confronted Schulz and stated that she would “give [Schulz] five minutes” to find a way to pay the check. Schulz then returned with a valid check from her mother. The bar manager reported the incident to police.
The purchaser of the cashier’s check, traced by the check number, testified that she had bought the check, payable to her car insurance company, to pay for insurance. When the insurance policy was cancelled, the agency returned the check to her post office box in St. Bonifacius, but she never received it.
Schulz acknowledged in her statement to police that she cashed the check. Schulz first stated that she was cashing the check for a friend, but then she stated that she had found it on the street. Schulz denied endorsing the check.
During deliberations, the jury sent a note to the district court requesting further instructions on whether, if a person found a cashier’s check, and then went to the payee and cashed the check, intent to defraud would exist. The district court informed the jury that additional instructions would not be given. About an hour later, the jury reached a verdict, acquitting appellant of forgery but convicting her of offering a forged check. The district court imposed a stayed sentence of one year and one day, with electronic home monitoring. This appeal follows.
D E C I S I O N
In a challenge to the sufficiency of
the evidence, this court carefully reviews the record to determine whether the
evidence, viewed in a light most favorable to the conviction, was sufficient
for the jury to reach a guilty verdict based on the record and inferences drawn
from the record. State v. Robinson, 604 N.W.2d 355, 365–66 (
A conviction for offering a forged
check requires that a person “with intent to defraud, offers, or possesses with
intent to offer, a forged check, whether or not it is accepted.”
Intent is an inference drawn by the
jury from the totality of the circumstances, State v. Marsyla, 269 N.W.2d 2, 5 (
We conclude that, based on the
evidence presented, the totality of the circumstances supports the reasonable
inference that appellant presented the check with intent to defraud. The check’s altered appearance on its face,
including large erasures that nearly made a hole in the check, would allow the
jury to infer that appellant knew the check had been altered and intended to
defraud the bar by offering it. See State v. Slaughter, 691 N.W.2d 70,
Finally, we reject appellant’s
contention that the question posed to the district court during deliberations
shows that the jury entered its verdict despite reasonable doubt. See
State v. Thomas, 467 N.W.2d 324, 327 (