This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




State of Minnesota,



Steven Dean Adams,


Filed March 24, 1998

Affirmed in part, reversed in part

Short, Judge

Rock County District Court

File No. K69656

Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, James B. Early, Assistant Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 and

Donald R. Klosterbuer, Rock County Attorney, Rock County Courthouse, 204 East Brown, Luverne, MN 56156 (for respondent)

John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Susan K. Maki, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue, S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)

Considered and decided by Amundson, Presiding Judge, Short, Judge, and Mansur, Judge.[*]


SHORT, Judge

A jury convicted Steven Dean Adams of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.342, subd. 1(h)(iii) (1996). Upon finding Adams a "patterned sex offender," the trial court sentenced him to 30 years imprisonment. On appeal, Adams argues the trial court: (1) committed reversible error in admitting certain testimony; (2) erred in concluding he was a "patterned sex offender"; (3) abused its discretion in sentencing him; and (4) erred in calculating his jail credit. We affirm in part, but reverse on the jail credit issue.


Evidentiary rulings rest within the trial court's discretion and will not be reversed absent a clear abuse of that discretion. State v. Glaze, 452 N.W.2d 655, 660 (Minn. 1990). Generally, failure to object to evidence at trial constitutes waiver of those issues on appeal. State v. Beard, 288 N.W.2d 717, 718 (Minn. 1980). However, notwithstanding a defense counsel's failure to object at trial, we will consider rulings that are plain error affecting substantial rights. State v. Williams, 525 N.W.2d

538, 544 (Minn. 1994). We will not reverse a trial court's sentencing decision absent a clear abuse of discretion. State v. Kindem, 313 N.W.2d 6, 7 (Minn. 1981).


Adams argues he was denied his rights to due process and a fair trial because the trial court erroneously permitted a social worker and the sheriff to testify they believed the victim was untruthful when she originally told them Adams had not abused her, and erroneously permitted the prosecutor to reference that testimony in closing argument. See Maurer v. Minnesota Department of Corrections, 32 F.3d 1286, 1289 (8th Cir. 1994) (concluding opinion testimony inadmissible when used to bolster victim's credibility); see, e.g., Van Buren v. State, 556 N.W.2d 548, 550-52 (Minn. 1996) (reversing trial court's admission of testimony that others believed victim's reports of sexual assaults). However, it is undisputed: (1) Adams's trial counsel vigorously pursued a "planted memory" theory to explain the victim's initial failure to disclose the abuse; (2) Adams's counsel questioned the victim extensively on the two conflicting accounts she provided to the social worker and the police; (3) based on their training and experience, the social worker and the sheriff testified about the victim's candor and demeanor during the interview; (4) although Adams's counsel objected to the testimony of the social worker, he failed to object to the sheriff's testimony or to the prosecutor's closing statement; and (5) Adams's counsel cross-examined the social worker and the sheriff, emphasizing the victim's initial denial of the abuse. Given these facts, the trial court did not err because Adams's counsel opened the door to testimony regarding the victim's initial denial of the abuse. See State v. Myers, 359 N.W.2d 604, 611 (Minn. 1984) (holding where defense counsel "opened door" to opinion testimony on complainant's truthfulness, no error for admission of psychologist testimony).

Even if the trial court erred in failing to exclude that testimony, we conclude the error was harmless. The record contains overwhelming evidence of Adams's guilt, including his conduct in regularly sleeping with the victim, "checking" on the victim in the shower, and mailing the victim letters that characterized their relationship as one of boyfriend/girlfriend rather than father/daughter. After a careful review of the record, we conclude the verdict was unattributable to the testimony concerning the victim's candor when she was first questioned about the abuse. See State v. Glidden, 455 N.W.2d 744, 747 (Minn. 1990) (holding test for harmless error is whether there was reasonable likelihood error substantially affected verdict); cf. Maurer, 32 F.3d at 1290 (holding plain error where evidence extremely close and jury's determination of which story to believe based largely on determination of victim's and defendant's truthfulness). Under these circumstances, we conclude any error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. See State v. Juarez, 572 N.W.2d 286, 292 (Minn. 1997) (holding if verdict actually rendered surely unattributable to error, error is harmless beyond reasonable doubt); see also State v. Forcier, 420 N.W.2d 884, 886-87 (Minn. 1988) (concluding error in admitting statement does not necessitate new trial if error harmless).


A trial court may depart from the presumptive sentence set forth in the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines when substantial and compelling circumstances are present, which make the facts of a particular case different from a typical one. Minn. Sent. Guidelines II.D.; see State v. Best, 449 N.W.2d 426, 427 (Minn. 1989) (concluding trial court has broad discretion to depart only if aggravating or mitigating circumstances are present). The patterned sex offender statute constitutes a statutorily created "aggravating factor." State v. Stirens, 506 N.W.2d 302, 305 (Minn. 1993).

Adams argues the trial court erred in concluding he is a "patterned sex offender" because he is not a danger to public safety, is not in need of long-term treatment, and his actions do not constitute a "pattern of behavior." However, the trial court found Adams: (1) has previously been convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct; and (2) shows no remorse and denies either criminal sexual offense occurred. In addition, a psychologist concluded Adams is a patterned sex offender in need of long-term treatment or imprisonment, based on the information gathered in a professional assessment. After careful review of the record, we conclude there is ample evidence to support the trial court's conclusion that Adams is a "patterned sex offender." See Minn. Stat. § 609.1352, subd. 1 (1996) (providing statutory prerequisites for sentencing departure for "patterned sex offender"); cf. State v. Gorman, 546 N.W.2d 5, 9 (Minn. 1996) (holding "pattern of criminal conduct" for purposes of career offender statute may be demonstrated by reference to past felony or gross misdemeanor convictions or by proof of prior uncharged acts of criminal conduct where such acts are similar to present offense in motive, purpose, results, participants, victims, or other characteristics).

Adams also argues the trial court abused its discretion in imposing a sentence of 30 years (360 months) because the presumptive sentence for his crime is 134 months. However, the statutory maximum sentence for a conviction for first-degree criminal sexual conduct is imprisonment of 30 years. Because Adams is a "patterned sex offender," the trial court's imposition of a 30-year sentence does not constitute an abuse of discretion. See Minn. Stat. § 609.1352, subd. 1(a) (providing upon finding offender constitutes "patterned sex offender," trial court shall sentence offender to period of time not less than double presumptive sentence and not more than statutory maximum sentence); see, e.g., State v. Christie, 506 N.W.2d 293, 295 (Minn. 1993) (affirming sentence under patterned sex offender statute where presumptive sentence was 68 months and appellant received sentence of 240 months).

Adams finally argues the trial court erred in crediting his jail time from the date of the complaint, April 5, 1996, because he was already incarcerated at the time. We agree. The decision to grant jail credit is not discretionary. State v. Fritzke, 521 N.W.2d 859, 861 (Minn. App. 1994) (citation omitted). The calculation of jail credit for an incarcerated defendant begins on the date police acquire probable cause to charge, not on the date of the complaint or charges. State v. Morales, 532 N.W.2d 268, 270 (Minn. App. 1995). The complaint against Adams relies on the victim's March 4, 1996 disclosure to Rock County Family Services and the July 1995 corroborating statements to police from Adams's neighbors. Under these circumstances, we conclude the police had probable cause to charge Adams when the victim made her statement to the county. See State v. Olson, 436 N.W.2d 92, 94 (Minn. 1989) (concluding probable cause means police reasonably could have believed that crime had been committed by person to be arrested). Because the charges were not immediately filed, Adams, as an incarcerated defendant, is entitled to jail credit from March 4, 1996. See State v. Folley, 438 N.W.2d 372, 374 (Minn. 1989) (concluding calculation of jail credit should not turn on matters subject to manipulation by prosecutor).

Affirmed in part, reversed in part.

[ ]* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.