STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
City of Maple Grove,
Marcus James Moore,
Filed September 21, 1999
Reversed and remanded; motion granted
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 98116138
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Steven M. Tallen, Tallen & Baertschi, 4640 IDS Center, 80 South Eighth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for appellant)
Mary M. McMahon, Michael F. Cromett, McMahon & Cromett Criminal Defense, P.L.L.P., 2499 Rice Street, Suite 260, Roseville, MN 55113-3724 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Amundson, Judge.
Appellant State of Minnesota, City of Maple Grove, argues that the district court erred by staying adjudication of a disorderly conduct charge against respondent Marcus James Moore. We reverse and remand, and we grant Moore's motion for costs and attorney fees.
Moore was charged with domestic assault in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.2242, subd. 1 (1998), and misdemeanor disorderly conduct in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.72, subd. 1 (1998). Following plea negotiations, Moore pleaded guilty to the disorderly conduct charge. Moore requested a stay of adjudication, and the district court, over the state's objection, stayed adjudication.
In State v. Foss, 556 N.W.2d 540, 540 (Minn. 1996), the supreme court explained that, in Krotzer, it had held that
if "special circumstances" are present, then a trial court may stay an adjudication of guilty over the prosecutor's objection without violating the separation-of-powers doctrine.
The Foss court further explained:
It was not our intention [in Krotzer] 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 [Krotzer] 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.
In State v. Mitchell, 577 N.W.2d 481, 493 (Minn. 1998), the supreme court reiterated the statements it made in Krotzer and Foss:
At times, this court has recognized exceptions when the [district court] does have inherent judicial power to act in the furtherance of justice, but this power is to be exercised only when there are special circumstances, such as selective or discriminatory prosecutorial intent. The inherent judicial power recognized in Krotzer is limited, and is to 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.
(Citation and quotation omitted).
Appellant argues that the district court erred by staying adjudication of the disorderly conduct charge against Moore because there was no showing that there was an abuse of discretion by the prosecutor. We agree. In its sentencing order, the district court stated that it was staying adjudication
because it appears to [the court] that a stay of adjudication creates the strongest available incentive for [Moore] to take the steps necessary to avoid repetition of the conduct involved here; that is, the potential reward of keeping this offense off of his record should be more effective than a fine, short jail sentence, or imposed but stayed sentence, to motivate appropriate action. The disposition also rests in part upon the insistence of Mrs. Moore, the victim, that she desires a stay of adjudication. Finally [Moore's son] (the true victim) will, [the court believes], be most likely to benefit in both the short- and the long-run from this disposition.
The district court also stated in its findings of fact that, "It appears adjudication will likely have an adverse effect upon Mr. Moore's employment."
Nothing in the record indicates a clear abuse of the prosecutor's discretion in the exercise of the charging function. Moore admitted to the police that he hit his wife, which provided a basis for the prosecutor to charge Moore with assault. And in his appellate brief, Moore acknowledged that his guilty plea to the disorderly conduct charge was supported by a factual basis. Furthermore, an adverse effect on employment is not a special circumstance that allows a trial court to stay adjudication of guilt over the prosecutor's objection. See State v. Twiss, 570 N.W.2d 487, 487 (Minn. 1997) (possibility that defendant may lose job as result of conviction not a "special circumstance" allowing district court to stay adjudication of guilt over prosecutor's objection). Therefore, we reverse the district court's order staying adjudication and remand this matter to the district court for further proceedings.
Reversed and remanded; motion granted.