Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Michael (NMN) Williams,
a/k/a Darrin Darnell Franklin,
Hennepin County District Court
Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Minnesota Attorney General, 102 State Capitol, St. Paul, MN 55155; Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Gale C. Hendley, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, Minnesota State Public Defender, Lyonel F. Norris, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge, Huspeni, Judge, and Schumacher, Judge.
Appellant Michael Williams a/k/a Darrin Darnell Franklin appeals from a judgment of conviction of two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree and one count of Kidnapping, contending that the trial court abused its discretion by refusing to sanction the state for an alleged discovery violation and by refusing to release appellant without bail if the trial were to be continued for independent DNA testing. We affirm.
The BCA issued its preliminary DNA report in November and its profile in December 1996. The DNA profile indicated less than a one in one billion chance that an individual other than appellant selected at random would match the DNA from the victim's vaginal fluids.
At appellant's request, the state delivered to appellant's attorneys the BCA work papers and x-rays. The papers contained a comment about an "anomaly," which led the defense attorneys to question whether or not appellant was the source of the semen found in the victim.
Appellant moved to suppress the DNA evidence at a pretrial hearing on the ground that the delivery of the BCA work papers was untimely. The trial court denied the motion to suppress and offered to continue the trial for two months to allow appellant to obtain independent DNA testing. Appellant refused the offer of continuance unless the trial court agreed to release him from custody. The trial court declined to do so and the matter proceeded to trial.
During the trial the BCA scientist who analyzed appellant's DNA testified that appellant's sperm and that taken from the victim's vaginal fluids matched in all seven standard match criteria and that the chances that the sperm in the victim came from someone other than appellant were "vanishingly small." The jury found appellant guilty of two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree in violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 609.342, subds. 1(c), 2; 609.101, subd. 2; 609.346, subd. 5 (1996), and one count of kidnapping in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.25, subds. 1(2), 2(1) (1996).
The rules of criminal procedure provide:
The prosecuting attorney's obligations under this rule extend to material and information in the possession or control of members of the prosecution staff and of any others who have participated in the investigation or evaluation of the case and who either regularly report or with reference to the particular case have reported to the prosecuting attorney's office.
Minn. R. Crim. P. 9.01, subd. 1(7).
Appellant urges that rule 9.01, subd. 1(7) extends to the BCA and places on the state a duty to ensure the BCA's timeliness in testing and reporting on DNA evidence. Such an extension of the rule would be unprecedented. In cases with similar discovery issues our supreme court has declined to find discovery violations. State v. Moss, 262 N.W.2d 422, 424 (Minn. 1978) (no discovery violation where blood test results not provided prior to trial but as soon as available before state's expert witness testified about results); State v. Rainer, 411 N.W. 2d 490, 495 (Minn. 1987) (no discovery violation where state investigator's report received three and a half weeks after written but day after state received it).
Here the record reflects that the state provided appellant with the DNA test results and work papers as soon as it had received them. The timing of the disclosure was not an intentional delay but rather a result of the BCA's standard processing time over which the state had no control. Even assuming that the disclosure was untimely and a violation of the discovery rules, the trial court enjoys wide discretion as to the imposition of sanctions. State v. Freeman, 531 N.W.2d 190, 197-198 (Minn. 1995) (trial court is peculiarly suited to determine appropriate remedy for discovery violation and has wide discretion in deciding whether to impose sanctions). The trial court found no discovery violation but did offer to continue the trial in response to appellant's allegation of a discovery violation. Such a remedy was clearly within the trial court's discretion. Minn. R. Crim. P. 9.03, subd. 8 (trial court may order continuance as sanction for failure to comply with disclosures); Freeman, 531 N.W.2d at 198.
Appellant next argues that he should have been released when the trial court denied his motion to suppress the DNA evidence. He contends that Minn. R. Crim. P. 11.10 requires that, except in exigent circumstances, he be released on nonmonetary conditions if trial is not commenced within 120 days of a speedy trial demand.
Appellant demanded a speedy trial on September 5, 1996. Under rule 11.10 trial must commence within 60 days unless good cause is shown for a delay. If good cause is shown, the commencement date may be extended to 120 days. The good cause related to the DNA evidence, which could have been inculpatory or exculpatory. Considering the potential critical importance of such evidence, it was fair to await the completion of testing.
With the good cause extension the trial should have begun on January 3, 1997. It was scheduled to start on January 9, 1997. The excess of five days is de minimis. The trial was continued to January 13, 1997 because of appellant's attorney's illness and to January 14, 1997 because of the prosecutor's illness. Any delays were minor and occurred for reasons beyond anyone's control and for good cause. Under such circumstances, appellant's right to a speedy trial was not violated.
Appellant claims that his case was prejudiced by the trial court's refusal to suppress the DNA evidence and to release him without bail. In Wedan v. State, 409 N.W.2d 266, 269 (Minn. App. 1987), review denied (Minn. Sept. 23, 1987), this court held that any prejudice resulting from a disclosure delay was insufficient to warrant sanctions when the delay was inadvertent and a continuance had not been requested. The court stated that the prosecutor disclosed the report as soon as he received it; defense counsel was aware of the report's contents in detail about four weeks before trial; the trial court allowed the state's expert to be interviewed; and the trial court offered to continue the trial if defendant felt that necessary. Id.
In this case, there is no evidence that the state caused or contributed to any delay respecting the DNA tests or reports. See State v. Ramos, 492 N.W.2d 557, 560 (Minn. App. 1992) (no finding of prejudice absent evidence that prosecutor intentionally obstructed attempts by defense to obtain information or exploited effects of nondisclosure). Furthermore, appellant was aware early in the case that samples had been sent for testing and nothing prevented him from requesting independent testing at any time. Any prejudice to appellant by the timing of the DNA disclosure is insufficient to warrant sanctions.
Finally, we find no abuse of discretion in the trial court's refusal to release appellant without bail. State v. Rainer, 411 N.W.2d 490, 495 (Minn. 1987) (continuances are within the trial court's discretion and conviction will be not reversed for denial absent a clear abuse of discretion). The trial court was entitled to consider the nature of the charges, the eyewitness evidence identifying appellant as the perpetrator, and the likelihood of his dangerousness. Minn. R. Crim. P. 6.02, subd. 2. These factors coupled with the trial court's substantial compliance with appellant's speedy trial demand support the trial court's refusal to release appellant without bail.