may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
State of Minnesota,
Kristine Anna Jirava,
File No. K696128
Joseph Evans, Becker County Attorney, Courthouse, Box 743, Detroit Lakes, MN 56502 (for respondent),
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Evan W. Jones, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Davies, Judge.
Appellant Kristine Anna Jirava challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support her conviction for aiding and abetting a fifth-degree controlled substance crime. We affirm.
While executing the warrant, police found numerous articles of women's clothing and women's shoes. Police also seized a photo of Jirava taken at Bahr's home. In the photo, Jirava is wearing a bathrobe and holding a coffee cup. A water bong, commonly used to smoke marijuana, can be seen on the table in front of her.
Jirava was charged with one count of aiding and abetting in committing a controlled substance crime in the fifth degree in violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 609.05, 152.025, subd. 2(1) (1994). Jirava pleaded not guilty, claiming that she did not live with Bahr and had no knowledge of the marijuana seized from Bahr's property.
At trial, police officers testified that during their two-week surveillance of Bahr's home, Jirava's two vehicles were parked at the home on a daily basis. Officers also testified that during the morning on the day before they executed the search warrant, they observed Jirava coming out of Bahr's home in a bathrobe to check the mailbox. Officers further testified that they found several documents addressed to Jirava throughout the house.
Two of Jirava's friends testified that Jirava and Bahr were romantically involved and were living together. They also testified that they provided transportation for Jirava to and from Bahr's house. Both stated that Bahr was not always home when they dropped Jirava off at Bahr's house. One friend testified that when she wanted to contact Jirava, she would call Bahr's house. She also testified that on more than one visit to Bahr's house, she saw marijuana in Jirava's hands and saw Jirava and Bahr smoking marijuana together. The other friend testified that he and Jirava would occasionally smoke marijuana together, and on one occasion, Jirava had given him a bag of marijuana.
Bahr testified that: (1) he had been dating Jirava since the summer of 1995; (2) Jirava did not live with him until two months after the police raid; (3) the women's clothing and shoes found by police belonged to his exwife, who had moved out in December of 1994; (4) the marijuana was his; (5) Jirava was not part of his growing operation; (6) Jirava did not have any knowledge of the marijuana that was found in his house; (7) all of the marijuana planting was done before their relationship began; (8) he always kept the bedroom where he dried the marijuana locked; (9) Jirava did not have a key to his house; (10) he and Jirava were still romantically involved and he did not want to see her get in trouble; and (11) until shortly after the raid, he had two roommates who lived at his house.
State v. Wallace, 558 N.W.2d 469, 472 (Minn. 1997) (citation omitted).
This court will affirm a conviction based on circumstantial evidence "when the reasonable inferences from such evidence are consistent only with the defendant's guilt and inconsistent with any rational hypothesis except that of guilt." State v. Alton, 432 N.W.2d 754, 756 (Minn. 1988). A "jury normally is in the best position to evaluate circumstantial evidence, and * * * their verdict is entitled to due deference." State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989).
A person is guilty of controlled substance crime in the fifth degree if:
(1) the person unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures containing a controlled substance classified in schedule I, II, III, or IV, except a small amount of marijuana.
Minn. Stat. § 152.025, subd. 2 (1994). Marijuana is a controlled substance classified in schedule I. Minn. Stat. § 152.02, subd. 2(3) (1994). A small amount of marijuana means 42.5 grams or less. Minn. Stat. § 152.01, subd. 16 (1994).
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 the other to commit the crime.
Minn. Stat. § 609.05, subd. 1 (1994).
[A] person may aid or abet without actively participating in the overt act. If the proof shows that a person is present at the commission of a crime without disapproving or opposing it, it is competent for the jury to consider this conduct in connection with other circumstances and thereby reach the conclusion that he assented to the commission of the crime, lent to it his approval, and was thereby aiding and abetting its commission. Certainly mere presence on the part of each would be enough if it is intended to and does aid the primary actors.
State v. Parker, 282 Minn. 343, 355-56, 164 N.W.2d 633, 641 (1969).
Presence, companionship, and conduct before and after the offense are circumstances from which the requisite criminal intent may be inferred.
In Re Welfare of M.D.S., 345 N.W.2d 723, 733 (Minn. 1984).
Jirava argues that the evidence presented at trial was wholly circumstantial and insufficient to prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Jirava contends that she did not have sufficient possession and control over Bahr's house to make her liable for Bahr's crimes. We disagree.
Considering the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, the only reasonable inference to be drawn was that Jirava was present in Bahr's home without disapproving or opposing Bahr's possession of marijuana. There was marijuana in plain view at several locations around the house. Jirava had frequent access to the entire house. Jirava used marijuana in the house. And Jirava was a close companion of Bahr. This evidence is inconsistent with the hypothesis that Jirava was not aware that Bahr had a large quantity of marijuana in the house.