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,
Walter Thomas Anderson,
Filed April 13, 1999
Scott County District Court
File No. K9814381
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55105, and
Thomas J. Harbinson, Scott County Attorney, Michael J. Groh, Assistant County Attorney, Diane M. Hanson, Assistant County Attorney, 200 West Fourth Street, Shakopee, Minnesota 55379 (for appellant)
David B. Boyce, Ramstad, Kennedy & Associates, 525 East First Avenue, Shakopee, MN 55379 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Short, Judge.
Walter Thomas Anderson was charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.343, subd. 1(a) (1998). Pursuant to Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.04, subd. 1(1), the state appeals from a pretrial order suppressing statements Anderson made at the police station after being given a Miranda warning. We reverse.
We will reverse a trial court's determination on a pretrial matter in a criminal prosecution if the state clearly and unequivocally demonstrates that (1) the trial court erred in its judgment, and (2) the error will have a critical impact on the outcome of the trial absent reversal. State v. Joon Kyu Kim, 398 N.W.2d 544, 547 (Minn. 1987).
The state argues the trial court erred in concluding Anderson's statements were made involuntarily in response to coercive tactics of law enforcement personnel. See State v. Williams, 535 N.W.2d 277, 287 (Minn. 1995) (noting appellate court makes independent determination of whether, under totality of circumstances, defendant's due process rights were violated because involuntary statement was elicited by coercive police activity). The record demonstrates: (1) Anderson was interviewed for 3.75 hours at the police station; (2) Anderson was given a Miranda warning at the beginning of the interview; (3) Anderson told police officers he understood his rights and was willing to talk to them; (4) Anderson appeared alert and coherent, and told police officers that he was not intoxicated; (5) although he only has a seventh-grade education, Anderson was 48 years old at the time of the interview and familiar with the criminal justice system; (6) during the interview, Anderson was not restrained and was offered soda, coffee, and breaks; (7) during the interview, officers told Anderson: (a) if he confessed, they would work with him during the judicial process, (b) if he did not confess, officers would interview more witnesses, and (c) "[s]o if [the victim] said that you put your finger on her vagina, you're saying that that wouldn't be true?"; and (8) although he admitted to long-term use of marijuana and touching the victim's buttocks, Anderson continued to deny other criminal acts. Given our independent review of these facts, we conclude Anderson's will was not overborne and his statements were voluntarily made to police officers. See State v. Riley, 568 N.W.2d 518, 525 (Minn. 1997) (recognizing appellate court independently reviews totality of circumstances including defendant's age, maturity, intelligence, education, experience, and ability to comprehend; adequacy of warning; length and legality of detention; nature of interrogation; and whether defendant was denied access to family and friends, or deprived of physical needs to determine whether defendant's will was overborne); see also State v. Pilcher, 472 N.W.2d 327, 333 (Minn. 1991) (noting purpose of interrogation is to encourage inculpatory statements, but defendant's will cannot be overborne by trickery, deceit, and stress-inducing techniques); State v. Johnson, 463 N.W.2d 527, 533 (Minn. 1990) (holding five-hour interrogation led to voluntary confession). Under these circumstances, the trial court clearly erred in suppressing Anderson's statements.
Anderson argues the state cannot show a critical impact given the victim's age (9 years old) and collateral evidence available. See State v. Zanter, 535 N.W.2d 624, 630 (Minn. 1995) (noting critical impact determined by whether suppression of evidence reduces likelihood of prosecution after consideration of state's evidence). The state presented evidence that: (1) the victim and Anderson are the only eye witnesses; (2) when the criminal touching occurred, the victim was asleep in bed with another sibling and her grandmother; (3) the victim's grandmother observed Anderson in the bedroom, but did not observe any contact between the victim and Anderson; and (4) the victim's statement was taken approximately three weeks after the incident. Considering the state's evidence as a whole, the trial court's decision to suppress the statement will significantly reduce the likelihood of a successful prosecution. See State v. Ronnebaum, 449 N.W.2d 722, 724 (Minn. 1990) (noting even if state's case is strong, suppression of confession in child sex abuse case "normally will significantly reduce the likelihood of a successful prosecution").