This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. §. 480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of the Welfare of:
Filed September 24, 1996
St. Louis County District Court
File No. J3-95-651619
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Dwayne Adrian Byran, Special Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for Appellant R.Y.S.)
Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Respondent); Alan L. Mitchell, St. Louis County Attorney, Leslie E. Beiers, Assistant County Attorney, 403 Government Services Center, 320 West Second Street, Duluth, MN 55802-1495 (for Respodnent)
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge, Amundson, Judge, and Foley, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant R.Y.S. challenges her juvenile adjudication by the district court for aiding and abetting false imprisonment, specifically contending the evidence was insufficient to support the adjudication. Because the trial court could reasonably conclude from the evidence presented that appellant aided and abetted in false imprisonment, we affirm.
On October 14, 1995, appellant and several other teenagers, including Y.M., T.M., and T.S., went to a skating rink. The teenagers gathered in a concession area and some of the group discussed confronting, B.P., the victim in this case. Appellant and the group of teenagers found B.P. downstairs and followed her into a changing room. B.P. stated that she attempted to leave the room, but appellant moved in front of the doorway and blocked her way. B.P. retreated to the far side of the room and sat in the corner while T.S., Y.M., T.M and others stood around her yelling. Appellant continued to stand or sit by the door during this time. B.P. testified that the entire incident lasted approximately one half hour. Eventually, an adult came into the changing room and all the teenagers sat down. B.P. attempted to leave and was able to walk around appellant at that time.
B.P. testified that the entire incident frightened her and she was afraid to leave because she feared the young women would push her around or beat her up. Appellant admitted being present during these events, but maintained she only went to watch the fight. Appellant also admitted at trial that she knew T.M. intended to fight someone that night and that she went with the group to watch the fight. She denied blocking the door, however, or saying anything to B.P. The district court, after bench trial, adjudicated appellant delinquent for aiding and abetting felony false imprisonment in violation of Minn. Stat. §subd. 2 (1994).
D E C I S I O N
When a minor challenges a delinquency adjudication on the basis of insufficient evidence, he or she must show that the trier of fact could not reasonably find that he or she committed the charged acts.
In re Welfare of T.M.V.
, 368 N.W.2d 421, 423 (Minn. App. 1985). An appellate court may not retry the facts, but views the evidence in the light most favorable to the trial court's decision and assumes the trial court believed the state's witnesses and disbelieved any evidence to the contrary.
In re Welfare of J.G.B.
, 473 N.W.2d 342, 344-45 (Minn. App. 1991) (quoting
State v. Merrill
, 274 N.W.2d 99, 111 (Minn. 1978)).
False imprisonment requires proof of intentional confinement or restraint. Minn. Stat. § 609.255, subd. 2 (1994). Even the slightest confinement is sufficient for a conviction of kidnapping,
State v. Crocker
, 409 N.W.2d 840, 844 (Minn. 1987) (citing
State v. Morris
, 281 Minn. 119, 160 N.W.2d 715 (1968)), and false imprisonment is a lesser included offense.
State v. Niska
, 514 N.W.2d 260, 266 (Minn. 1994). Appellant argues that the facts do not support her adjudication because the state did not prove she intended to falsely imprison B.P. However, appellant was not convicted of false imprisonment, but aiding and abetting false imprisonment.
A person is criminally liable for a crime committed by another if the person intentionally aids, advises, hires, counsels, or conspires with or otherwise procures another to commit the crime. Minn. Stat. §subd. 1 (1994). A person may aid or abet by inaction,
State v. Parker
, 282 Minn. 343, 355, 164 N.W.2d 633, 641 (Minn. 1969), but there must be some showing that the accused played at least some knowing role in the commission of the crime and took no steps to thwart its completion.
State v. Jones
, 347 N.W.2d 796, 801 (Minn. 1984). Presence, companionship, and conduct before and after the offense are circumstances from which requisite criminal intent may be inferred for the purposes of imposing criminal liability as an aider and abettor.
In re Welfare of M.D.S.
, 345 N.W.2d 723, 733 (Minn. 1984).
Appellant admitted at trial that she knew T.M. intended to fight someone. She also admitted accompanying the group into the changing room and being present while some of the teenagers surrounded B.P. Appellant admitted being near the door of the changing room during the incident. B.P. and T.S. testified that appellant physically moved in front of the door when B.P. attempted to leave, and remained in front of or near the door, preventing B.P.'s escape during the confrontation. B.P. testified that she was afraid to leave the room because she feared what the young women would do to her. She feared appellant because appellant stood in front of the door and blocked her escape. No evidence suggested that appellant took any steps to thwart the completion of the imprisonment. Thus, the district court could reasonably infer that appellant's presence in the door area intentionally assisted in keeping B.P. confined.
Appellant also contends that she could not be held responsible for aiding and abetting false imprisonment because the evidence did not establish that the victim was imprisoned for more than a short period of time. It is not necessary under Minnesota law to establish that the victim was confined for a substantial period of time.
, 409 N.W.2d at 844. Moreover, the evidence established that the teenagers confined B.P. for a significant period of time. Thus, appellant could be held responsible for aiding in false imprisonment.
Finally, appellant argues that the testimony of T.S. could not have been credible because it was an attempt to evade prosecution. The record, however, indicates that T.S. appeared pursuant to a subpoena, without any promises from the prosecution, and she did not want to testify. The trial court was in the best position to assess credibility and could have reasonably believed T.S.'s testimony.
Because the trial court could reasonably conclude from the evidence presented that appellant aided and abetted in false imprisonment, we affirm.
Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.