This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).

Minnesota Court of Appeals File # C3-95-2037
Hennepin County District Court File # 95034025

State of Minnesota,


Laron Terrell Campbell,

May 7, 1996

Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Minnesota Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent)

Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Linda M. Freyer, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)

Steven P. Russett, Assistant State Public Defender, 875 Summit Avenue, LEC 304, St. Paul, MN 55105

Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Norton, Judge, and Kalitowski, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D    O P I N I O N

SHORT, Judge

A jury convicted Laron Terrell Campbell of one count of attempted aggravated robbery in the first degree in violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 609.17 (attempts), 609.245, subd. 1 (aggravated robbery in the first degree), and three counts of terroristic threats in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.713, subd. 1. On appeal, Campbell argues the trial court abused its discretion by admitting evidence of his prior conviction for terroristic threats. We affirm.


A trial court has broad discretion in deciding the state's motion to impeach a defendant with prior conviction evidence. State v. Gassler, 505 N.W.2d 62, 67 (Minn. 1993). We will not reverse the trial court's decision to allow this evidence absent a clear abuse of discretion. State v. Graham, 371 N.W.2d 204, 209 (Minn. 1985).

A party may attack the credibility of a witness with evidence that the witness has been convicted of a crime if (1) the crime was punishable by imprisonment in excess of one year, and (2) the trial court determines the probative value of the evidence outweighs its prejudicial effect. Minn. R. Evid. 609(a). Such evidence generally is limited to crimes with conviction or release dates within the past ten years. Minn. R. Evid. 609(b). To determine whether the probative value of a prior conviction outweighs its prejudicial effect, the trial court considers the following factors:

(1) the impeachment value of the prior crime,

(2) the date of the conviction and the defendant's subsequent history,

(3) the similarity of the past crime with the charged crime * * * ,

(4) the importance of [the] defendant's testimony, and

(5) the centrality of the credibility issue.

State v. Jones, 271 N.W.2d 534, 537-38 (Minn. 1978). A court should also consider whether its evidentiary ruling will cause the defendant not to testify. Gassler, 505 N.W.2d at 66.

Campbell argues the trial court abused its discretion by authorizing prospectively the state to impeach him through the introduction of his 1993 conviction for terroristic threats. See id. at 67 (acknowledging similarity between a prior conviction and the charged crime heightens the likelihood the jury will improperly use the evidence for substantive purposes); Jones, 271 N.W.2d at 538 (holding the defendant's testimony was "extremely important" because, while the police officer testified as to what the defendant told him, the defendant could have explained the exact meaning of his statement); State v. Norregaard, 380 N.W.2d 549, 554 (Minn. App.) (noting the use of terroristic threats convictions to impeach is not favored because they do not directly relate to honesty and truthfulness), aff'd as modified, 384 N.W.2d 449 (Minn. 1986). We disagree.

The record demonstrates: (1) the present crimes took place two years after Campbell's first conviction for terroristic threats; (2) Campbell's version of the incident was presented to the jury through cross-examination of another witness and Campbell made no offer of proof regarding further testimony; (3) the trial court informed counsel and Campbell that it would give the jury a cautionary instruction if the impeachment evidence was presented; and (4) Campbell's credibility would have been directly at issue if he had taken the stand and alleged the victim attacked him with her umbrella. The trial court considered the facts in light of the Jones criteria. Under these circumstances, we cannot say the trial court abused its discretion in prospectively authorizing the use of Campbell's prior conviction for impeachment purposes. See State v. Lloyd, 345 N.W.2d 240, 246 (Minn. 1984) (affirming a decision to permit prior conviction evidence, in part because the jury heard the defendant's story through testimony of a police officer and the defendant made no offer of proof to show that his testimony would have added information); State v. Brouillette, 286 N.W.2d 702, 708 (Minn. 1979) (stating a cautionary instruction adequately protects the defendant against the possibility that the jury will convict based on character); Norregaard, 380 N.W.2d at 554 (finding the defendant's credibility is at issue when the jury must determine whether the defendant or another witness is more believable); see also State v. Stanifer, 382 N.W.2d 213, 218 (Minn. App. 1986) (noting Minnesota courts have liberally admitted past convictions for impeachment even when the prior crime is the same as the charged crime).