may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Gilbert Arthur Dorn,
Filed March 23, 1999
St. Louis County District Court
File No. T5-98-607930
Alan Mitchell, St. Louis County Attorney, David M. Johnson, Assistant County Attorney, 100 N. Fifth Ave. W., Rm. 501, Duluth, MN 55802-1298 (for respondent)
Gilbert A. Dorn, 6496 Comstock Lake Rd., Cotton, MN 55724 (appellant pro se)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Huspeni, Judge.[*]
Gilbert Arthur Dorn appeals pro se from a petty misdemeanor conviction for operation of an unlawful salvage yard in violation of county ordinance. Because Dorn's arguments lack merit, we affirm.
1. Dorn argues that his conviction must be reversed because "I do not have three or more cars on my property that can be seen from the road." Dorn mistakenly reads the ordinance as requiring that three inoperable vehicles must be visible from the road before a violation occurs. Rather, the ordinance defines a junk or salvage yard as "[a]ny place where 3 or more motor vehicles * * * not in operable condition, are stored in the open." The ordinance further requires that any salvage yard owner obtain a conditional use permit, shield the salvage yard from view of any public road, and post a bond with the county sufficient for removal of all salvage material.
At trial, a county deputy sheriff testified that he had visited Dorn's property a number of times, most recently on the morning of trial. The deputy presented photographs and estimated that there were between 10 to 15 inoperable vehicles on Dorn's property. The county zoning administrator testified that Dorn did not have a conditional use permit or meet any of the other ordinance requirements to operate a salvage yard on his property. Given this uncontradicted evidence, the trial court could reasonably find Dorn guilty of the cited offense. See State v. Cox, 278 N.W.2d 62, 65 (Minn. 1979) (conviction upheld if trial court could reasonably have found defendant guilty of crime charged).
2. Dorn argues that the deputy "had no probable cause to look for me or to enter my private property." A person has a constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. U.S. Const. Am. IV; Minn. Const. art. I, § 10. This guarantee, however, does not extend to searches of privately-owned open fields. State v. Sorenson, 441 N.W.2d 455, 460 (Minn. 1989) (conservation officer need not have probable cause under "open fields" doctrine, which permits officer to enter almost any area to enforce state's game and fish laws). The deputy had received complaints about the condition of Dorn's property and could observe a number of inoperable vehicles from the road. The deputy was thus permitted to enter Dorn's property to investigate these complaints.
3. Dorn states that he is being "tried twice for the same crime by the same judge," apparently raising double jeopardy concerns because he was charged with violating the same ordinance in 1994 and found not guilty in 1995. The prohibition against double jeopardy precludes a person from being punished twice for the same offense. U.S. Const. Am. V; Minn. Const. art. I, § 7. Double jeopardy does not preclude prosecution for later violations committed as part of a continuing offense. See State v. Sweet, 179 Minn. 32, 33-34, 228 N.W. 337, 337 (1929) (double jeopardy does not preclude subsequent prosecution for continuing offenses, such as nonsupport of wife or child).
In this case, violation of the ordinance at issue is a misdemeanor and "[e]ach day that a violation continues to exist shall constitute a separate offense." The mere fact that Dorn was previously acquitted of violating this ordinance does not preclude the state from seeking to prosecute him for subsequent violations.
4. Dorn appears to challenge the admission of testimony by the deputy regarding facts allegedly not pertaining to the current charge. The deputy testified that "[a]s I look at this property today, I realize that it also doesn't fit the * * * solid waste ordinance" because of the unsanitary and unsightly accumulation of solid waste on the property. The trial court specifically refused to consider any additional charges against Dorn, and made it clear that Dorn had only been charged with violating the salvage yard ordinance. Thus, the trial court properly excluded the evidence and did not consider it.
We therefore affirm Dorn's petty misdemeanor conviction.
[*] Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by apointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.