may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Steven Jon Brown,
File No. K0974795
Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101; and
Tom Foley, Washington County Attorney, Jay A. Brunner, Washington County Government Center, 14900 61st Street North, Stillwater, MN 55082 (for appellant)
Carl A. Blondin, 7475 15th Street North, Suite 204, Oakdale, MN 55128 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Kalitowski, Judge.
Appellant State of Minnesota contends the district court erred when it stayed adjudication in the felony charge of reckless discharge of a firearm against respondent Steven Jon Brown. We reverse.
An order granting a stay of adjudication is appealable as a pretrial order. State v. Thoma, 569 N.W.2d 205, 208 (Minn. App. 1997), aff'd, 571 N.W.2d 773 (Minn. 1997); Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.04, subd. 1 (1) (prosecutor may appeal of right from pretrial order).
District courts should only rarely interpose on prosecutorial discretion.
Under established separation of powers rules, absent evidence of selective or discriminatory prosecutorial intent, or an abuse of prosecutorial discretion, the judiciary is powerless to interfere with the prosecutor's charging authority.
State v. Krotzer, 548 N.W.2d 252, 254 (Minn. 1996). However, a district court may grant a stay of adjudication as part of its inherent power to further justice if "special circumstances" are present. Id. at 254-55.
Respondent discharged a handgun from his car when parked outside his former fiancée's house. He claims he was distraught both from the difficulties the couple was experiencing, as well as from unresolved grief issues from the death of his wife. The court held respondent for a rule 20 psychiatric evaluation, in which he was diagnosed with severe major depressive disorder but found competent to stand trial.
The district court's disagreement with the gravity of a charged offense is not a "special circumstance" for which a stay of adjudication is available.
It was not our intention that mere disagreement by the trial court with the prosecutor's exercise of the charging discretion would constitute "special circumstances." Rather, it was our intention that the inherent judicial authority recognized in that case be relied upon sparingly and only for the purpose of avoiding an injustice resulting from the prosecutor's clear abuse of discretion in the exercise of the charging function.
State v. Foss, 556 N.W.2d 540, 541 (Minn. 1996). A district court may use its discretion in sentencing if it disagrees with the prosecutor regarding the gravity of the offense. Id.; see Minn. Stat. § 609.135 (1996 & Supp. 1997) (allowing district court broad discretion to stay imposition or execution of sentence).
We conclude the requisite special circumstances are not present here and the district court abused its authority by ordering a stay of adjudication. The decision of the district court to stay adjudication is reversed and this mater is remanded for proceedings consistent with this decision.
Randall, Judge (dissenting).
I respectfully dissent.