Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Darrell Clarence Ward,
File No. T3961603
Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101; and
David G. Berry, Assistant City Attorney for the City of Litchfield, 34 East Second Street, P.O. Box 682, Litchfield, MN 55355 (for respondent)
Ronald R. Frauenshuh, Jr., 129 N.W. 2d Street, Ortonville, MN 56278 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Foley, Judge.**
*Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.
Appellant Darrell Clarence Ward challenges his conviction for fifth-degree assault claiming: (1) the district court erred in refusing to grant the reasonable use of force jury instruction; (2) the district court committed several errors that denied appellant a fair trial; and (3) it was reversible error for the bench conferences not to be included in the transcript. We affirm.
Whether a new trial should be granted because of misconduct of the prosecuting attorney is governed by no fixed rules but rests within the discretion of the trial judge, who is in the best position to appraise its effect. The court's determination should be reversed on appeal only where the misconduct, viewed in the light of the whole record, appears to be inexcusable and so serious and prejudicial that defendant's right to a fair trial was denied.
State v. Wahlberg, 296 N.W.2d 408, 420 (Minn. 1980). The constitutional guarantee of a fair trial does not require a perfect trial, but rather one that is fair and does not prejudice the substantial rights of the accused. State v. Billington, 241 Minn. 418, 427, 63 N.W.2d 387, 392-93 (1954).
Further, "[r]ulings on evidentiary matters rest within the sound discretion of the trial court." Caldwell v. State, 347 N.W.2d 824, 826 (Minn. App. 1984). "[T]he trial court has broad discretion in deciding whether testimony by a qualified expert should be received." State v. Helterbridle, 301 N.W.2d 545, 547 (Minn. 1980).
Appellant makes several arguments complaining about statements made at the trial, procedures used, and the evidence admitted or not admitted. The district court is in the best position to determine whether alleged misconduct was unfair or prejudicial to the accused and to determine what evidence to allow. Here, we cannot say the district court abused its discretion in concluding appellant was not denied the right to a fair trial.