This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




State of Minnesota,



Christopher Anya,


Filed August 26, 1997


Peterson, Judge

Hennepin County District Court

File No. 96023687

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

Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Paul R. Scoggin, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)

Harlan Goulett, Allan H. Caplan & Associates, 525 Lumber Exchange Building, 10 South Fifth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for appellant)

Considered and decided by Amundson, Presiding Judge, Norton, Judge, and Peterson, Judge.



This appeal is from a judgment of conviction for third-degree criminal sexual conduct and felony prostitution. Minn. Stat. §§ 609.344, subd. 1(b), 609.324, subd. 1(b)(1) (1996). Appellant Christopher Anya contends that the trial court erred in a Batson ruling and abused its discretion in admitting Spreigl evidence. We affirm.


Anya was charged with having sex with 15-year-old B.U. in February 1996, when B.U. was engaged in prostitution. The complaint alleged that Anya picked up B.U. at the corner of 28th Street and Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, and drove her to his apartment in north Minneapolis, where they had sex in exchange for money.

During jury selection, the prosecutor exercised a number of peremptory challenges, including one against an immigrant from Ethiopia, who stated that he had been convicted of a crime of domestic violence or assault against his former girlfriend, and at one point said that he did not think he had been treated fairly in the case. Defense counsel raised a Batson challenge to the peremptory strike, contending that because the prospective juror was a person of color and the prosecutor had struck him, the defense had made a prima facie showing under Batson. The trial court ruled that the defense had not made a prima facie showing of purposeful discrimination. The court noted that the prosecutor had accepted another person of color on the jury, and had stricken a white juror who had a prior criminal conviction.

The trial court granted the state's motion to allow, as Spreigl evidence, the testimony of a police officer who testified that when she was acting as a prostitution decoy in 1991, Anya had propositioned her at the corner of 22nd and Nicollet. Anya later pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution in that case.

The jury found Anya guilty of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and of felony prostitution. The trial court sentenced him to a stayed sentence of 18 months.



Anya argues that the trial court erred in concluding that he did not make a prima facie showing of purposeful discrimination in the prosecutor's striking of the prospective juror. This court gives deference to the trial court's finding on intent in Batson issues, but generally reviews the trial court's decision for clear error. See State v. McRae, 494 N.W.2d 252, 254 (Minn. 1992)(citing U.S. Supreme Court's statement of its standard of review in Hernandez v. New York, 500 U.S. 352, 365-369, 111 S. Ct. 1859, 1869-71 (1991)).

Under Batson, the court uses a three-step process to determines whether there has been a discriminatory peremptory challenge.

First, the defendant must make a prima facie showing that the prosecutor has exercised peremptory challenges on the basis of race. Second, if the requisite showing has been made, the burden shifts to the prosecutor to articulate a race-neutral explanation for striking the jurors in question. Finally, the trial court must determine whether the defendant has carried his burden of proving purposeful discrimination.

Hernandez, 500 U.S. at 359-60, 111 S. Ct. at 1866 (citations omitted). The trial court here found that the defense did not make a prima facie showing and therefore did not go on to the second and third steps. The issue, thus, is whether Anya made a prima facie showing of discrimination.

A prima facie case of racial discrimination is established by showing that one or more members of a racial group have been peremptorily excluded from the jury and that circumstances of the case raise an inference that the exclusion was based on race.

State v. Stewart, 514 N.W.2d 559, 563 (Minn. 1994).

The prosecutor accepted one of the two black prospective jurors and exercised a peremptory challenge against the other. This court has held that striking one of two black venirepersons did not establish a prima facie case under Batson. State v. Lynch, 443 N.W.2d 848, 851 (Minn. App. 1989), review denied (Minn. Sept. 15, 1989). Although there are too many other relevant circumstances for Lynch to be controlling in this case, most of those circumstances support the trial court's ruling.

The "prosecutor's questions in voir dire" are part of the relevant circumstances in considering whether there is a prima facie showing of discrimination. State v. Moore, 438 N.W.2d 101, 107 (Minn. 1989). The record shows that the juror who was struck was questioned in substantially the same fashion as the other prospective jurors, particularly the white juror who also had a criminal conviction. Moreover, the black juror who was struck admitted that he didn't feel the system had treated him fairly in prosecuting him for the assault, (an admission largely elicited by the court in initial questioning) which provided stronger grounds for striking him than the prosecutor had for striking the white juror. Even defense counsel questioned the black juror thoroughly about his experience with the criminal justice system, implicitly recognizing that his experience was a red flag requiring caution before accepting him on the jury.

Anya urges this court to establish a rule that striking a racial minority venire member, in a racially sensitive case, is sufficient to establish a prima facie Batson showing. Such a rule, however, would necessarily exclude other relevant circumstances. The trial court acknowledged that this was a racially-sensitive case, involving a black defendant and a white victim, and therefore properly considered racial factors. But the trial court was not required to treat the races of Anya and B.U. as a dominant consideration to the exclusion of all other relevant factors.


Anya argues that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence of his 1991 conviction for misdemeanor soliciting prostitution. The admission of prior bad acts evidence lies within the discretion of the trial court and will not be reversed absent a clear abuse of discretion. State v. Slowinski, 450 N.W.2d 107, 113 (Minn. 1990). Spreigl evidence may be admitted if it is relevant and material to the state's case, if there is clear and convincing evidence to show the defendant committed the Spreigl offense, and if the probative value of the evidence outweighs the potential for unfair prejudice. State v. Filippi, 335 N.W.2d 739, 743 (Minn. 1983). The court should focus on the "closeness of the relationship between the other crimes and the charged crimes in terms of time, place and modus operandi." State v. Frisinger, 484 N.W.2d 27, 31 (Minn. 1992). The closer the relationship, the greater the relevance or probative value and the lesser the likelihood the evidence will be used for an improper purpose. Id.

The 1991 Spreigl offense occurred only five years before the charged offense, it happened only six blocks away, and involved the same type of conduct, soliciting a woman to engage in prostitution. Anya's defense was that B.U. knew the details of his car and his apartment only because he found her crying outside his house, let her use his phone, and gave her a ride to south Minneapolis. The Spreigl evidence tended to show a sexual intent in the encounter, as well as the absence of mistake or accident. The trial court did not clearly abuse its discretion in admitting the Spreigl offense.