may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat.§ 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Villery Martin Klemm,
Filed September 16, 1997
Pipestone County District Court
File No. K395250
James E. O'Neill, Pipestone County Attorney, 14 North Hiawatha, P.O. Box 128, Pipestone, MN 56164 (for respondent)
Lawrence W. Pry, Assistant State Public Defender, LEC 304, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Huspeni, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Amundson, Judge.
Appellant Villery Martin Klemm challenges his conviction of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree under Minn. Stat. § 609.342, subd. 1 (1994), arguing the district court erred both in admitting Spreigl evidence and in refusing to specify the limited purposes for which the evidence was offered. We affirm.
Evidence of other crimes or acts is inadmissible to prove a defendant's propensity to commit the charged offense, but such evidence may be admitted "'to establish motive, intent, absence of mistake or accident, identity or common scheme or plan.'"
Id. (citations omitted).
To admit Spreigl evidence, the district court must find: (1) the evidence is clear and convincing that the defendant participated in the Spreigl incident; (2) the Spreigl evidence is relevant and material to the state's case; and (3) the probative value of the Spreigl evidence outweighs its potential for unfair prejudice. Id. On appeal, the defendant has the burden of proving: (1) the district court erred in admitting the Spreigl evidence; and (2) the admitted evidence prejudiced the defendant. Id.
Evidence of other crimes is admissible only if the district court finds the direct or circumstantial evidence of defendant's identity is otherwise weak or inadequate and that it is necessary to support the state's burden of proof. State v. Billstrom, 276 Minn. 174, 178-79, 149 N.W.2d 281, 284 (1967). In addition, when evidence of other crimes is offered for the purpose of identity, there must be some relationship in time, place, and modus operandi between the charged offense and the other crimes. State v. Bolte, 530 N.W.2d 191, 198 (Minn. 1995) (citation omitted). The crimes do not have to be identical to be relevant. State v. DeWald, 464 N.W.2d 500, 503 (Minn. 1991).
Here, it is not disputed that C.K. was sexually abused, and that appellant denied he was responsible. Because of the lack of witnesses and C.K.'s inability to testify due to her young age, evidence of appellant's identity was weak, and the state contended it needed the Spreigl evidence to meet its burden of proof.
Appellant argues the Spreigl evidence was not relevant to the charged offense. We disagree. The charged crime was sufficiently similar to the prior offense for which appellant was adjudicated delinquent: (1) both victims were younger family members; (2) appellant used a position of authority to commit the offenses; (3) both incidents took place in appellant's home; and (4) both offenses involved the sexual penetration of the victims. We conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining the Spreigl evidence was relevant to the charged offense. See State v. Cichon, 458 N.W.2d 730, 735 (Minn. App. 1990) (finding evidence of prior crime relevant because both occurred in defendant's home, involved touching of female child's private parts, and defendant used position of authority to commit both offenses).
Appellant argues the prior offense was committed when he was 14 years old and the seven-year time gap between the two offenses made the Spreigl evidence inadmissible. We disagree. Juvenile records may be obtained and made public for the limited use of a Spreigl hearing once the proper foundation for the admission of the records is established and the district court determines (in camera, if necessary) whether to allow the records into evidence. State v. Loveless, 425 N.W.2d 602, 604 (Minn. App. 1988), review denied (Minn. Aug. 31, 1988). A close temporal relationship is not necessary if the evidence is otherwise relevant. Cichon, 458 N.W.2d at 734-35. Because of the similarities between the charged offense and the Spreigl act, the seven-year gap did not make the Spreigl evidence inadmissible.
Appellant also argues the district court erred in not finding the evidence's potential for unfair prejudice outweighed its probative value. We disagree. The record indicates: (1) the state's case was weak because of lack of witnesses and the victim's age; (2) appellant adamantly denied any wrongdoing; (3) the district court found the other offense was sufficiently related to the charged offense; and (4) the district court gave a cautionary instruction in the preliminary jury instruction before the evidence was received. Under the circumstances, the Spreigl evidence was relevant and its probative value outweighed its potential for unfair prejudice. See State v. Sebasky, 547 N.W.2d 93, 98 (Minn. App. 1996) (holding the probative value of defendant's prior sexual misconduct outweighed its prejudicial effect for the reasons discussed here), review denied (Minn. June 19, 1996).
Such evidence [Spreigl evidence] is introduced for the limited purpose, or will be introduced for the limited purpose of assisting you in determining whether or not the Defendant committed the crimes with which he is charged in this case which I summarized to you earlier. The Defendant is not being tried for and may not be convicted of any crime other than the crime charged in the complaint and you are specifically advised that you are not to convict the Defendant solely based upon any occurrence which may have occurred in 1988 in Lyon County, because to do so would result in an unjust and double punishment.
Prior to the introduction of the Spreigl evidence, the district court instructed the jury pursuant to 10 Minnesota Practice CRIMJIG § 2.01 (1990):
Members of the Jury, the Court understands that the State, through this witness, is about to introduce evidence of an occurrence in Marshall, Minnesota on or about July 12, 1988. This evidence is being offered for the limited purpose of assisting you in determining whether or not Defendant committed those acts which he is charged in the complaint which I summarized to you earlier at the beginning of the trial. The Defendant is not being tried for and may not be convicted of any offense other than the charge in the complaint. You are instructed specifically that you are not to convict the Defendant on the basis of any occurrence on July 12, 1988 in Marshall, Minnesota. To do so might result in unjust, double punishment.
During the final jury instruction, the district court gave a similar cautionary instruction pursuant to 10 Minnesota Practice CRIMJIG § 3.16 (1990).
Appellant argues the jury instructions were inadequate because the district court refused to instruct the jury on the limited purpose for which the evidence was offered. We disagree. First, "[j]uries are not normally instructed as to the possible inferences to be drawn from the evidence." State v. Elvin, 481 N.W.2d 571, 575 (Minn. App. 1992), review denied (Minn. Apr. 29, 1992). Second, the district court's instruction to the jury to not convict appellant solely on the Spreigl evidence adequately eliminated the potential for confusion. See id. (holding that jury instruction was adequate when the jury was specifically instructed not to convict solely on the other crime or bad act evidence); see also State v. Haala, 415 N.W.2d 69, 77 n.2 (Minn. App. 1987) (there was no potential for confusion when the district court instructed the jury that the other conviction may not serve as the sole basis for conviction), review denied (Minn. Dec. 22, 1987).