Petitions for Review Granted: April 1, 2010

Clemmie Howard Tucker, Jr. v. State; COA Opinion

There’s a reason they call them aggravating: The Court will once again take up the vexing comparison of bad and badder conduct in the durational departure context.  In Clemmie Howard Tucker, Jr. v. State, the court of appeals upheld an upward departure of 75 months.  Tucker fired a gun through the windshield of another driver’s car at 3 a.m., then left without checking to see if the other driver was injured.  The driver died. Tucker entered into an agreement to plead guilty to second degree unintentional felony murder with an upward durational departure of 75 months.  Tucker later petitioned for post-conviction relief, arguing that there was no factual basis for a departure.  The potential issues for the Court are whether Tucker’s failure to render assistance in conjunction with the events that gave rise to the charge of unintentional felony murder (1) form a proper basis for departure and/or (2) constituted particular cruelty.

State v. Quenton Tyrone Williams, COA Opinion

Probable cause; pistol-permitting statute: Following a custodial arrest, Williams admitted to police officers that he possessed cocaine.  He moved to suppress the drugs, contending that his arrest was illegal. The only possible crime for which officers might have had probable cause to arrest Williams was an uncharged offense of carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 1a.  The police never asked Williams whether he had a permit for the gun.  May the police form probable cause to arrest for a violation of the gun-permitting statute without making any effort to ascertain whether the carrier had a permit?  A divided panel of the court of appeals said yes; the dissenter said no.  The Minnesota Supreme Court held in State v. Timberlake that the police need not make a permit inquiry in advance of a Terry stop, but it has not yet addressed whether such an inquiry is required as a prerequisite to a probable cause arrest.

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