Attorney Christopher Cadem has filed a petition to the Minnesota Supreme Court on behalf of D.M. challenging his conviction for second degree murder. D.M. was convicted of murder stemming from an incident in which the victim and his co-conspirators attempted to rob D.M. using counterfeit money. When D.M. discovered the money was counterfeit and attempted to get his property back, the victim assaulted D.M. with a firearm. A struggle over the firearm ensued and the victim was ultimately shot. On the way to the hospital, the victim separated the magazine from the firearm and threw both out the window of a vehicle. The victim subsequently died from the gunshot wound.
The jury convicted D.M. of murder in the second degree, which required the jury to find that the murder occurred while D.M. was committing the predicate crime of assault with the firearm. Paradoxically, however, the jury did not find that D.M. possessed the firearm.
The issues presented in the Petition to the Supreme Court are:
- Whether logically inconsistent verdicts require a heightened review of the record to determine whether the verdict is attributable to defects in the trial or jury instructions.
- Whether upholding a logically inconsistent verdict in these circumstances violates the 6th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
- Whether the District Court erred by failing to include any jury instruction on causation for second degree murder.
- Whether the District Court erred by failing to include an accomplice-corroboration jury instruction to assist the jury in evaluating the testimony of the victim’s co-conspirators.
- Whether the Court of Appeals erred by requiring D.M. to prove that prosecutorial misconduct violated his substantial rights during trial, rather than requiring the State to prove that its misconduct did not.
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