This opinion will be unpublished and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
Laura Hansen, petitioner,
State of Minnesota,
Filed November 14, 2006
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 04059306
Laura Hansen, 14222 Bellevue Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55345 (pro se appellant)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Desyl L. Peterson, Minnetonka City Attorney, Rolf A. Sponheim, Assistant City Attorney, 14600 Minnetonka Boulevard, Minnetonka, MN 55345 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Dietzen, Presiding Judge, Hudson, Judge, and Crippen, Judge.
Appellant Laura Hansen challenges her conviction of harassment in violation of a Minnetonka, Minnesota, ordinance, claiming that the district court did not properly weigh the indicia of appellant’s alleged incompetence to stand trial, abused its discretion when it did not appoint an interpreter, and wrongfully admitted Spreigl evidence when the state allegedly made an untimely notice. Appellant also alleges several other errors in the conduct of her trial. Finding nothing in the record to suggest the court accorded too little weight to indicia of appellant’s incompetence and finding no merit to her remaining arguments, we affirm.
Appellant was charged with five counts of harassment, public indecency, and disorderly conduct arising out of an alleged mooning of her eight-year-old neighbor. Appellant was ultimately convicted of only the harassment charge under the ordinance and was sentenced to 45 days’ imprisonment, with 43 days stayed.
argues that the district court erred when it denied her defense counsel’s
motion for a competency examination. Generally, the district court’s findings
of fact are accorded great deference, and we will not disturb the findings
unless they are clearly erroneous. Minn.
R. Civ. P. 52.01. But when the evidence
is undisputed and the district court denies a motion for a competency hearing, we review the record as a
whole to determine whether the court gave the “proper weight” to the indicia of
incompetence. State v. Camacho, 561 N.W.2d 160, 174 (
A defendant’s competence to
stand trial is governed by Minn. R. Crim. P. 20.01. Under the rule, if, on a
motion from the prosecutor or the defense counsel or on the court’s own
initiative, the district court determines that there is a “reason to doubt” the
defendant’s competency, the court must dismiss the case, cause civil commitment
proceedings to be brought against the defendant, or appoint a medical examiner
to conduct a competency examination.
record shows that the district court engaged in an extensive colloquy with
appellant, in which she admitted that she understood the allegations against
her. In addition to this discussion, the
district court reviewed a November 2003 competency evaluation of appellant. A prior finding of competency, when combined
with the defendant’s rationality and appropriate demeanor at trial, can be
evidence that there is no reason to doubt the defendant’s competence. Bauer,
next argues that the district court erred by not appointing a qualified
interpreter. The decision whether to
appoint an interpreter is committed to the sound discretion of the district
court. State v. Cham, 680 N.W.2d 121, 126 (Minn. App. 2004), review denied (Minn. July 20, 2004). Minnesota law provides for an interpreter if a
person is handicapped in communication.
The district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied appellant’s motion for an interpreter. The record reflects that, during the colloquy with the court, appellant stated that she had started learning to read and write English in the 7th grade, and began speaking English when she arrived in this country in 1974, when she was approximately 25. Appellant stated that she could “get by” during “[d]aily conversation.” Based on this information, the district court was within its discretion when it denied appellant’s motion for an interpreter.
Appellant argues that the district court erred in admitting Spreigl evidence, arguing that Spreigl evidence may not be admitted if appellant does not take the stand, that admitting Spreigl evidence violates appellant’s right not to be exposed to double jeopardy when charges arising from the prior incidents had been dismissed, and that, in any case, admitting Spreigl evidence was improper because the state was allegedly late in notifying appellant of its intent to introduce Spreigl evidence.
Evidentiary rulings are
committed to the sound discretion of the district court and will not be
overturned on appeal absent an abuse of discretion. State v.
Scruggs, 421 N.W.2d 707, 715 (
The district court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted the two prior incidents. Contrary to appellant’s argument, there is no requirement that appellant take the stand before Spreigl evidence may be admitted. See Minn. R. Evid. 404(b) (noting that prior bad acts evidence is admissible provided that the “relevant person[’s]” participation is established by clear and convincing evidence). And the Supreme Court has held that the introduction of prior misconduct evidence does not offend the double jeopardy clause. United States v. Felix, 503 U.S. 378, 387 (1992); see Dowling v. United States, 493 U.S. 342, 354 (1990) (permitting the introduction of evidence of a crime the defendant was acquitted of on the basis that the rules of evidence imposed a lower burden of proof).
appellant’s argument that the state gave late notice of its intent to introduce
Spreigl evidence is not properly before this
court. Generally, a reviewing court does
not consider matters not argued or considered in the court below. Roby v.
State, 547 N.W.2d 354, 357 (
Appellant alleges several other errors in the conduct of her trial.
Appellant argues that the
district court erred when it refused to honor her notice to remove the judge
presiding over her case. Even assuming
appellant’s notice to remove was correctly filed, her proper remedy was to seek
a writ of prohibition from this court. McClelland v. Pierce, 376 N.W.2d 217,
Appellant contends that the district court had no authority to order a preliminary sentence investigation for a misdemeanor offense. Even assuming appellant’s claim is properly before this court and is not moot, appellant is mistaken: a PSI is expressly authorized by statute for a misdemeanor conviction. Minn. Stat. § 609.115, subd. 1(a) (2004).
Appellant challenges the district court’s decision to execute the three-day commitment portion of her sentence immediately, arguing that the court was improperly swayed by the victim-impact statement and the district court’s frustration with appellant’s insistence on exercising her Fifth Amendment rights. As a threshold matter, this issue is improper: a sentence determined on a misdemeanor conviction is not appealable as a matter of right. To bring an appeal, appellant must seek leave of this court within 30 days after sentencing. Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.02, subds. 2(3), 3. And because appellant has already served her three-day-executed sentence, her appeal is moot. See Matter of Schmidt, 443 N.W.2d 824, 826 (Minn. 1989) (holding that if an appellate court cannot grant effectual relief, the issue is deemed moot).
also note that the sentence announced by the district court was not an abuse of
discretion. For convictions not within
the sentencing guidelines, if the defendant was heard and the district court considered
the relevant factors, any sentence within the legislatively prescribed
boundaries is within the district court’s discretion. State v. Hanson, 304
Appellant argues that the city ordinance under which she was convicted is unconstitutionally vague. But appellant did not challenge the constitutionality of the statute in the district court and, as such, her claim is waived. State v. Schleicher, 672 N.W.2d 550, 555 (Minn. 2003) (holding that a vagueness challenge must be brought before the district court before it may be reviewed on appeal).
Appellant appears to argue that the victim’s mother intimidated the victim into testifying against appellant falsely. This argument constitutes a challenge to the victim’s credibility, and credibility determinations are not reviewed on appeal but are solely the province of the jury. State v. Reese, 692 N.W.2d 736, 741 (Minn. 2005) (noting that “assessment of witness credibility is a jury function”).
Finally, appellant argues
that the prosecutor committed misconduct by charging her, arguing that the
prosecutor had no legal basis for charges stated and “concocted” additional
offenses on the day of trial (an evident reference to the Spreigl evidence). But the
prosecutor has broad charging authority. State v.
Johnson, 514 N.W.2d 551, 556 (
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.
 The specific charges were misdemeanor and gross-misdemeanor indecent exposure, in violation of Minn. Stat § 617.23, subds. 1(3), 2 (2002); harassment in violation of Minnetonka Code of Ordinances §§ 1040.005(4), 1040.020, 1310.010; public indecency in violation of Ordinances §§ 1045.015(4), 1045.060, 1310.010; and disorderly conduct in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.72, subd. 1(3) (2002).