Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
Karon Kenyata Baldwin,
Filed April 14, 1998
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 96078422
Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101; and
Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Beverly J. Benson, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Marie L. Wolf, Assistant State Public Defender, Suite 600, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Crippen, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Peterson, Judge.
Appellant Karon Baldwin appeals from his conviction, challenging the admissibility of a photo display and Spreigl evidence. We affirm.
Appellant contends that a photo display shown to an identifying witness was unduly suggestive. Small ink markings were added by the police under the right eyes on the photos of five other individuals in the display to minimize the significance of appellant's teardrop tattoo. Appellant argues that the markings singled him out for identification.
When identification evidence is challenged on appeal, the reviewing court must "determine whether the procedures used were so impermissibly suggestive as to create a `very substantial likelihood of irreparable misidentification.'" State v. Spann, 287 N.W.2d 406, 407 (Minn. 1979) (citations omitted). We consider (1) whether the procedure was unduly suggestive and if so, (2) whether, under the totality of the circumstances, the identification evidence is reliable. State v. Jones, 556 N.W.2d 903, 912 (Minn. 1996).
There is no basis for appellant's contention that the display was unduly suggestive. The ink markings are insignificant in appearance, and there is no direct evidence that the marks had any influence on the witness who saw them. Moreover, we observe that the reliability of the identification was established, notwithstanding the fact that part of appellant's face was covered by a bandana and the witness had only a short time to observe him. The witness remembered appellant's "eyes and stuff" and expressed certainty about his identification. There is no evidence to suggest he was uncertain about his identification.
On appeal, appellant bears the burden of proving both that the trial court erred in admitting the evidence and that its admission prejudiced him. State v. Landin, 472 N.W.2d 854, 859 (Minn. 1991). This court will not reverse a trial court's ruling absent a clear abuse of discretion. State v. Johnson, 568 N.W.2d 426, 432 (Minn. 1997).
Appellant does not dispute the overall admissibility of the Spreigl evidence, but rather argues that it was used in a prejudicial fashion. Because appellant was acquitted on the murder charge in the prior case, the trial judge instructed the state to make no mention of that shooting death. At the current trial, a police officer who was called to the scene of the earlier robbery testified that he had his car lights off, which was "common practice when you are usually looking for a party or when shots are fired." But the "shots fired" testimony referred to general police practice. It did not constitute a description of a shooting having occurred and left room for another explanation of the police practice. The reference was not overly prejudicial to appellant's case.
Appellant also challenges the trial court's exclusion of reverse Spreigl evidence. The same evidentiary requirements apply to the admission of reverse Spreigl evidence as for Spreigl evidence. Id. at 432. Among other things, the evidence must be relevant and material, with probative value that outweighs its potential for prejudice. Landin, 472 N.W.2d at 859.
In this case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the evidence because the crimes were different and therefore not relevant to the case. Moreover, appellant's contention that it was unfair for the judge to admit Spreigl evidence and exclude reverse Spreigl evidence is unpersuasive. There is no reciprocity between the admissibility of the two different types of evidence.