This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).






Wallace James Beaulieu, petitioner,





State of Minnesota,



Filed May 22, 2007


Shumaker, Judge


Beltrami County District Court

File No. K9-02-1783



Wallace James Beaulieu, M.S.O.P. – Moose Lake Annex, 1111 Highway 73 North, Moose Lake, MN 55767 (pro se appellant)


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


Randall R. Burg, Assistant Beltrami County Attorney, 40 Judicial Courts Annex, 619 Beltrami Avenue N.W., Bemidji, MN 56601 (for respondent)

            Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge; Klaphake, Judge; and Willis, Judge.




U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Appealing from an order denying his postconviction petition challenging a 2002 conviction for failing to register as a predatory offender, Wallace Beaulieu argues that because this is a civil and regulatory offense, the state lacks jurisdiction to enforce it against him on the Leech Lake Reservation.  Beaulieu also argues that the district court erred in ruling the claim was barred under Knaffla for failure to raise it in direct appeal because the issue is novel and the interests of justice require that the jurisdictional challenge be considered.  Because the legal basis for Beaulieu’s jurisdictional arguments was established and knowable prior to his first appeal, Beaulieu’s claims are procedurally barred by Knaffla, and we affirm.


            In 2002, appellant Wallace James Beaulieu, a Native American with six prior felony convictions, was arrested on the Leech Lake Reservation for failing to register as a predatory offender.  Following his conviction under Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 5(c) (2002), the district court sentenced him to 60 months in prison.  Beaulieu appealed his conviction and sentence in June 2003 and was represented by a public defender.

            In July 2004, the court of appeals affirmed the conviction, but reversed Beaulieu’s sentence and remanded the case for resentencing.  State v. Beaulieu, No. A03-669, 2004 WL 1488443 (Minn. App. July 6, 2004).  After he was sentenced to 24 months in prison, Beaulieu filed a petition for postconviction relief, arguing that the State of Minnesota lacked jurisdiction to enforce the predatory-registration statute because he was living on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation at the time of the arrest.  The postconviction court denied Beaulieu’s petition on the grounds that Beaulieu’s claims were barred by State v. Knaffla, 309 Minn. 246, 252, 243 N.W. 2d 737, 741 (1976), because he could have raised them on his first appeal.  This appeal followed. 


            Appellate courts “review a postconviction court’s findings to determine whether there is sufficient evidentiary support in the record.”  Dukes v. State, 621 N.W.2d 246, 251 (Minn. 2001).  Appellate courts “afford great deference to a district court’s findings of fact and will not reverse the findings unless they are clearly erroneous.”  Id.  “The decisions of a postconviction court will not be disturbed unless the court abused its discretion.”  Id. 

            “[W]here direct appeal has once been taken, all matters raised therein, and all claims known but not raised, will not be considered upon a subsequent petition for postconviction relief.”  State v. Knaffla, 309 Minn. 246, 252, 243 N.W.2d 737, 741 (1976).  “This rule applies if the defendant knew or should have known about the issue at the time of appeal.”  King v. State, 649 N.W.2d 149, 156 (Minn. 2002).  “Similarly, a postconviction court will generally not consider claims that were raised or were known and could have been raised in an earlier petition for postconviction relief.”  Spears v. State, 725 N.W.2d 696, 700 (Minn. 2006). 

            There are two exceptions to this rule: a district court may address an issue not previously raised “(1) if a novel legal issue is presented, or (2) if the interests of justice require review.”  Id. To invoke the interests-of-justice exception, a petitioner must show that fairness requires the district court to address the issue, that he did not deliberately and inexcusably fail to raise the issue previously, and that the claim has substantive merit.  Id.  The petitioner has the burden of establishing by a fair preponderance of the evidence facts that warrant reopening the case.  Minn. Stat. § 590.04, subd. 3 (2006); State v. Rainer, 502 N.W.2d 784, 787 (Minn. 1993). 

            Here, the postconviction court denied Beaulieu’s petition as procedurally barred by Knaffla, holding that the legal grounds for relief argued in the petition were available at the time of the original appeal.  In his pro se brief, Beaulieu argues that his claims cannot be barred by Knaffla as the legal basis for his appeal was not established until State v. Jones, 700 N.W.2d 556 (Minn. App. 2005), rev’d, State v. Jones 729 N.W.2d 1, (Minn. 2007), a case decided after his first appeal, which held that Minnesota lacks jurisdiction to enforce predatory-sexual-offender statutes on Native American reservations.  He did not order transcripts of the postconviction proceedings, and asks this panel to rule on the merits of the case without this part of the record. 

            Beaulieu argues that State v. Jones[1] directly applies to him because he was arrested for failure to register as a predatory offender, which is a civil statute, while living on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, where the State of Minnesota lacks jurisdiction to enforce purely regulatory statutes.  He correctly points out that this case was decided after his appeal, but alleges that the legal basis for his second appeal could not have been known to him at that time.  We disagree.

            The postconviction court cited two cases decided in 1999 and 2002, prior to Beaulieu’s appeal:  Boutin v. LaFleur, 591 N.W.2d 711, 717 (Minn. 1999), and Kaiser v. State, 641 N.W.2d 900, 907 (Minn. 2002) (both cases concluding that Minn. Stat. § 243.166 (2002) is not punitive, but rather is civil or regulatory in nature).  The court stated that

[t]hough neither Boutin nor Kaiser addressed the same jurisdictional issue analyzed in Jones, in both cases the Minnesota Supreme Court held that Minnesota’s predatory offender registration statute was regulatory and not criminal. Because they were decided before [Beaulieu] was arrested and convicted, Boutin and Kaiser plainly provided a legal basis upon which [Beaulieu] could have relied in his direct appeal.


(Citing Boutin, 591 N.W.2d at 717; Kaiser, 641 N.W.2d at 907.)


            In a memorandum of law in support of his motion to vacate his sentence filed prior to the postconviction hearing, Beaulieu argued that (1) the standard principles of statutory construction do not have their usual force in cases involving Indian law, and (2) that Minnesota has no general regulatory authority over Native Americans on reservations, and that the registration statutes are purely regulatory.  He supported his arguments with citations to United States Supreme Court decisions, United States Code, Congressional history, federal cases, and state cases, all of which predate his original appeal.  He mentions Jones in passing, and this is the only case cited that was decided after his appeal.  Beaulieu’s own careful research and cogent analysis support our conclusion that his argument could have been made prior to the Jones decision, and he provided no explanation as to why he failed to raise a Boutin or Kaiser argument in his first appeal.  In light of this and the supreme court’s recent reversal of State v. Jones, we conclude that justice does not require a review of the claims.  Spears, 725 N.W.2d at 700.

            In the statement of his case, Beaulieu also asks this court to order a new trial because a prior felony conviction had recently been expunged from his record in St. Louis County on the ground that the underlying guilty plea was obtained in absentia in violation of Beaulieu’s constitutional rights.  The expunged conviction, a failure to register as a predatory offender, was used as the basis for charging him under Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 5(c), and Beaulieu asserts he should be granted a new trial.  However, Beaulieu has not made these assertions at any time before the district court, and we will not consider them now.  See Roby v. State, 547 N.W.2d 354, 357 (Minn. 1996) (stating the court of appeals will generally not consider matters not argued and considered in the court below).




[1] State v. Jones was reversed by the Minnesota Supreme Court on March 22, 2007.  See State v. Jones, 729 N.W.2d 1, (Minn. 2007).  Because we find that Beaulieu’s claims were barred by Knaffla, our analysis is unchanged by the decision.