may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Dean Anthony Schocker,
Filed October 1, 1996
Beltrami County District Court
File No. T0-95-3563
445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Respondent)
Timothy Faver, Beltrami County Attorney, Laurie Middleton, Assistant County Attorney, 207 Fourth Street N.W., Bemidji, MN 56601 (for Respondent)
Thomas T. Smith, Smith Law Firm, P.A., 115 Fifth Street, P.O. Box 1420, Bemidji, MN 56601 (for Appellant)
Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Parker, Judge, and Schumacher, Judge.
By formal complaint, Dean Anthony Schocker was charged with violating Minn. Stat. § 609.748, subd. 6 (Supp. 1995). The court granted the state's motion to certify the offense as a petty misdemeanor. After a bench trial, Schocker was found guilty of violating a 1995 restraining order and sentenced to pay $268 as a fine, surcharges, and fees. On appeal from that judgment, Schocker argues the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction. We affirm.
When evaluating the sufficiency of the evidence to support a conviction, our review is generally limited to whether the fact finder could reasonably have found the defendant guilty of the charged offense. State v. Wilson, 535 N.W.2d 597, 605 (Minn. 1995).
Schocker argues the evidence is insufficient to support conviction because a copy of the restraining order was not in evidence. See 10A Minnesota Practice, CRIMJIG 24.48 (Supp. 1996) (stating first element of violation of a harassment restraining order is that "there was an existing restraining order to cease harassment"). However, the record demonstrates: (1) during cross-examination, and without objection from defense counsel, Schocker read into the record a paragraph of the restraining order, which set forth its conditions; (2) Schocker admitted at trial that he was aware of the existence of the restraining order, was present during the negotiations that led to the stipulated agreement, and participated in discussions about the order at the time of its issue; and (3) the same judge who issued the restraining order presided over this bench trial. Under these circumstances, there is sufficient record evidence to support the conviction.
Schocker also argues the state's evidence was insufficient because the state failed to prove venue. We disagree. Because there was evidence that the complaining witnesses lived in Hines Township near Blackduck Lake, the evidence was sufficient to establish venue. See State v. Larsen, 442 N.W.2d 840, 842 (Minn. App. 1989) (citing State v. Trezona, 286 Minn. 531, 532, 176 N.W.2d 95, 96 (1970), and indicating a trial court may take judicial notice of location within a county).
Schocker further argues the trial court abused its discretion by admitting an irrelevant videotape, which purported to depict Schocker's wrongful conduct. We agree that a trial court should not consider irrelevant facts. See Juster Bros. v. Christgau, 214 Minn. 108, 120, 7 N.W.2d 501, 508 (1943) (quoting Morgan v. United States, 298 U.S. 468, 480, 56 S. Ct. 906, 911 (1936), and recognizing that trial courts must not consider evidence that should not legally influence the decision). But even if the court erroneously admitted and considered irrelevant evidence, the error does not require reversal unless it substantially affected Schocker's rights. See Minn. R. Evid. 103(a) (stating error may not be predicated on a ruling admitting evidence unless a substantial right of the party is affected).
On a defense motion to clarify the record, the trial judge ruled the videotape at issue was not part of the trial record. Given the evidence establishing Schocker's guilt and the trial court's ruling, we hold the trial judge's consideration of the videotape, if any, did not affect Schocker's substantial rights.