may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Antonio Tyrone Sather,
Filed December 8, 1998
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 97077182
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, Mark F. Anderson, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge, Crippen, Judge, and Klaphake, Judge.
Appellant Antonio Sather disputes the trial court's admission of Spreigl evidence in an attempted robbery prosecution, arguing that the Spreigl evidence was less probative than prejudicial because there was no need shown for the evidence. We affirm.
Appellant was a patron in Donald Larck's cab during the early morning hours of August 31, 1997. Larck contends that appellant announced his intention to rob him and threatened him with a knife. Appellant and Larck then scuffled and appellant fled. Appellant disputes the introduction of two prior crimes as Spreigl evidence; one crime was the simple robbery of a purse and the other involved appellant's lookout role for the robbery of a teller machine patron by a person using a knife.
Rulings on evidentiary matters will not be reversed absent an abuse of the trial court's discretion. State v. Grayson, 546 N.W.2d 731, 736 (Minn. 1996). Ordinarily, evidence of prior crimes is not admissible to show behavior consistent with the character of the defendant. State v. Moorman, 505 N.W.2d 593, 600 (Minn. 1993). But evidence of other crimes may be admitted to establish "proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident." Minn. R. Evid. 404(b); State v. DeWald, 464 N.W.2d 500, 502-03 (Minn. 1991); see also State v. Spreigl, 272 Minn. 488, 496-97, 139 N.W.2d 167, 173 (1965) (demanding pre-trial statement of the state's intentions to use other-crime evidence). The trial court may admit Spreigl evidence if it finds that:
(1) the evidence is clear and convincing that the defendant participated in the Spreigl incident; (2) the Spreigl evidence is relevant and material to the state's case; and (3) the probative value of the Spreigl evidence outweighs its potential for unfair prejudice.
State v. Landin, 472 N.W.2d 854, 859 (Minn. 1991).
Appellant disputes neither the convincing proof nor the relevance of respondent's Spreigl evidence. He argues singularly that the probative value of the evidence is diminished by the fact that the state did not need it. He bases his contention on Larck's testimony of appellant's expressed intent to commit a robbery. But intent was at issue because Larck was the state's only witness, and appellant's counsel argued in her closing statement that the state had not proved intent. Moreover, we examine the issue of need in light of the risk of prejudice. See DeWald, 464 N.W.2d at 504 (noting that when the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial effect is close, the trial court must pay special attention to the need factor). Where, as here, the risk to the appellant of unfair prejudicial effect was slight, because Larck testified on all elements of the crime, and the probative value was considerable, permitting an assessment of the evidence on appellant's intent, we need not specially scrutinize the state's need in admitting the Spreigl evidence.
Appellant argues the impact of State v. Kennedy, 572 N.W.2d 58 (Minn. App. 1997), rev'd, 585 N.W.2d 385 (Minn. 1998). He contends that, as in Kennedy, his was a case in which there was pretextual use of Spreigl evidence to show that a crime occurred. But the circumstances of the cases are materially different. In Kennedy, defendant denied that the disputed events had ever occurred. Here, appellant does not dispute that he was in the cab; he only disputes that his actions were criminal. Thus, the Spreigl evidence was not being used to bolster an overall-weak case, but rather to prove the specific question of appellant's intent.
 The Minnesota Supreme Court has subsequently reversed this court's decision in Kennedy. Because we hold that Kennedy does not apply to the facts of this case, our reasoning is unaffected.