More trial issues this week.  Here we take a look at “curtilage” and “incriminating nature.” Despite these issues, proper jury instructions are key. If the jury doesn’t know what they are required to decide, the entire trial is for naught.

A11-0809        State of Minnesota, Respondent, vs. Javaris Eugene Milton, Appellant.
Hennepin County.
District court did not err when it admitted into evidence shell casings seized by the police from the back of defendant’s multifamily residence, even though the seizure was warrantless, because the area where the shell casings were seized was not curtilage and the incriminating nature of the shell casings was immediately apparent to the police.
State did not commit prosecutorial misconduct when the State’s opening statement to the jury complied with an agreement between the parties and the district court as to the admissibility of certain evidence, and the record does not indicate that the State was responsible for any improper redaction of a separate statement that the State published to the jury.
District court erred when it failed to instruct the jury that the jury could not find the defendant guilty of aiding and abetting unless the jury found that the defendant knew his alleged accomplices planned to commit a crime and that the defendant intended to aid in the commission of that crime; but, the district court’s error did not affect the defendant’s substantial rights because there was not a reasonable likelihood that the error had a significant effect on the jury’s verdict.
Affirmed.  Justice Paul H. Anderson.

By: Landon J. Ascheman, Esq.
(B) 612.217.0077 (C) 651.280.9533