This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






State of Minnesota,





George Howland Jackson,



Filed October 10, 2006


Shumaker, Judge


Washington County District Court

File No. T9-05-23960



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


Richard C. Ilkka, 1584 Hadley Avenue North, Oakdale, MN 55128 (for respondent)


George Howland Jackson, 1769 Lexington Avenue North, No. 170, Roseville, MN 55113 (pro se appellant)


            Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


Appellant challenges the district court’s finding that he is guilty of inattentive driving.  Because the evidence was sufficient to support his conviction, we affirm. 


            In 2005, police officer Tina Voss issued appellant George Howland Jackson a ticket for inattentive driving in violation of Minn. Stat. § 169.14 (2004). On the ticket, Voss noted that Jackson had nearly sideswiped another vehicle and slammed on his brakes only when the other car honked to avoid the collision.  Jackson entered a plea of not guilty, and a bench trial was held. 

On the day of trial, Jackson submitted a Rules 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 17 Motion.  This motion was a standard-form motion, with 23 options that could be checked off to request various forms of relief.  Jackson failed to check any of the boxes.  After a brief discussion, Jackson insisted that he had checked box number five and requested that the state disclose and allow him the opportunity to inspect and reproduce any relevant written or recorded statements made by any of the prosecution’s witnesses.  The parties agreed that the only written statements were a few notes that Officer Voss had written on the back of the citation filed with the court, and Jackson was given the opportunity to view these notes.

At trial, Voss testified that she saw Jackson’s vehicle drifting into another vehicle’s lane.  She stated that had Jackson not slammed on his brakes, there would have been a traffic accident.  Voss also testified that Jackson was on his cell phone throughout the incident.  After witnessing the near-accident, Voss stopped the vehicle that Jackson had nearly hit and spoke briefly with the driver.  Voss noticed that Jackson had pulled into a gas station parking lot near where she was parked.   She did not stop Jackson’s vehicle nor place him under arrest.  She approached the vehicle, asked for Jackson’s identification, spoke briefly with him, and issued a citation for inattentive driving.

Jackson testified that he had exercised due care while driving, explaining that “[h]ad that other car not hit the brakes, that other car would have collided into me” because “[the other car] was in the same lane that I was in, trying to overtake me,” although he previously had alleged that the car was in the lane next to him and that he had not seen the other car while looking in his mirrors before changing lanes.  He alleged that the driver was hostile and that he was exercising due care by swerving to avoid this driver. 

The court found that the state had met its burden of proof and entered a judgment against Jackson for inattentive driving.


Pretrial Motion


Jackson first alleges that the district court failed to properly address his pretrial Rules 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 17 Motion.  This motion was a form motion with 23 different options for relief that could be checked by a defendant in a criminal case.  On the day of trial, Jackson submitted an unchecked pretrial-motion form.  After he insisted that number five was checked, the district court allowed Jackson sufficient opportunity to inspect the only written evidence in the case.  Given the insufficiency of the pretrial motion as well as the relative dearth of evidence in the case, the district court adequately addressed Jackson’s pretrial motion by allowing him access to the notes written on the back of the citation. 

Sufficiency of the Evidence


Jackson appears to argue that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to convict him of inattentive driving since he expands on his explanation of the incident in his pro se brief.  Additionally, Jackson seems to be calling Officer Voss’s credibility into question by writing “government witness [lies]” in his affidavit explaining the nature of the appeal and by attempting to discredit Voss’s testimony in his brief.  However, although Jackson raises a conjecture as to credibility, he makes no showing that the court resolved credibility issues improperly.  It is not the province of the appellate court to evaluate the credibility of witnesses who testified at trial.  Dale v. State, 535 N.W.2d 619, 623 (Minn. 1995).  Rather, this court shows great deference to a fact-finder’s determination of witness credibility.  State v. Dickerson, 481 N.W.2d 840, 843 (Minn. 1992), aff'd, 508 U.S. 366, 113 S. Ct. 2130 (1993).  Therefore, this court does not need to address the credibility issues Jackson raises. 

Turning to Jackson’s claim of insufficient evidence, this court’s review is limited to a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the conviction, is sufficient to allow the fact-finder to reach the verdict that it did.  State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989).

The applicable statute provides that

[no] person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions.  Every driver is responsible for becoming and remaining aware of the actual and potential hazards then existing on the highway and must use due care in operating a vehicle.

Minn. Stat. § 169.14, subd.1 (2004).  Since Voss witnessed Jackson talking on his cell phone while driving and nearly sideswiping a vehicle in the adjacent lane, her testimony was sufficient to establish that Jackson failed to exercise due care while driving.  Given Voss’s testimony, the facts in the record and the legitimate inferences that can be drawn from these facts, the district court had sufficient evidence to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Jackson was guilty of inattentive driving. 

Probable Cause

            It appears that Jackson attempts to argue that he was seized without probable cause.  In his informal brief, Jackson stated that the motion he filed “for the purpose of addressing constitutional [issues]” was not properly heard by the district court.  Later in his brief, Jackson cites two United States Supreme Court cases without applying them to the facts before this court.  He appears to argue that an unlawful seizure took place when Voss approached his parked vehicle and began questioning him.  In his affidavit stating the nature of the appeal, Jackson alleges that his constitutional rights, specifically those enumerated in the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, were violated.

            Because it is not within the province of the appellate court to supply an argument where one is not briefed, this court need not address the constitutional violations mentioned by Jackson, especially as these arguments were not raised at trial or in any pretrial motions.  See State, Dep’t of Labor & Indus. v. Wintz Parcel Drivers, Inc., 558 N.W.2d 480, 480 (Minn. 1997) (stating that this court declines to address allegations unsupported by legal analysis or citation); Roby v. State, 547 N.W.2d 354, 357 (Minn. 1996) (stating that court of appeals generally will not decide issues which were not raised before district court, including constitutional questions of criminal procedure); State v. Modern Recycling, Inc., 558 N.W.2d 770, 772 (Minn. App. 1997) (holding that assignment of error in appellate brief, which is based on “mere assertion” and unsupported by argument or authority, is waived unless prejudice is obvious on mere inspection).

Except for asking Voss whether she had read him his rights, Jackson made no mention of constitutional violations during the proceedings.  Jackson’s brief contains a smattering of references to the Fourth Amendment, seizures, and probable cause, but he fails to apply this terminology to the facts before this court, and his allegations are unsupported by argument or application of authority.  The district court did not make any rulings on constitutional issues, and Jackson fails to expound upon these contentions.  Therefore, we need not address the alleged constitutional violations. 

Even if we were to address the issue of whether Jackson had been seized without probable cause, it is clear from the record that no seizure took place.  A seizure occurs “when the officer, by means of physical force or show of authority, has in some way restrained the liberty of a citizen.”  In re Welfare of E.D.J., 502 N.W.2d 779, 781 (Minn. 1993) (quoting Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 19 n.16, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 1879 n.16 (1968)). 

Examples of circumstances that might indicate a seizure, even where the person did not attempt to leave, would be the threatening presence of several officers, the display of a weapon by an officer, some physical touching of the person of the citizen, or the use of language or tone of voice indicating that compliance with the officer's request might be compelled.  


U.S. v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 554, 100 S. Ct. 1870, 1877 (1980).  Not every point of contact between a law enforcement official and an individual constitutes a seizure.  Id.

Nothing in the record indicates that Jackson was seized.  Voss followed Jackson into the gas station parking lot and did not stop the vehicle.  At no point did Voss display a weapon, use forceful language, tone, or voice; nor did Voss tell Jackson that he was under arrest or not free to leave.  Any detention of Jackson was brief and for the purpose of issuing the citation.  Therefore, the record does not support Jackson’s assertion that he was seized without probable cause.