Minn. High Court Affirms Ramsey County Murder Conviction

Minnesota case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: criminal law.

State of Minnesota v. Jerry Vang. MN criminal law

In this appeal from Ramsey County, the Minnesota Supreme Court held:

1. Under Minn. Stat. 260B.193, subd. 5(d) (2012), the district court had subject matter jurisdiction to consider an indictment filed against appellant at age 23 for a crime committed at 14 years of age.

2. The evidence was sufficient to support appellant's convictions of first-degree felony murder while committing a drive-by shooting and attempted first-degree felony murder while committing a drive-by shooting.

3. Because the failure of an unobjected-to jury instruction to include all of the elements of drive-by shooting, Minn. Stat. 609.66, subd. 1e (2012), did not affect appellant's substantial rights, appellant was not entitled to a new trial.

4. A sentence of life imprisonment for a minimum of 30 years imposed upon appellant, who was a juvenile when he committed first-degree murder, was not cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution or cruel or unusual punishment in violation of Article I, Section 5, of the Minnesota Constitution.

5. The district court did not abuse its discretion in imposing on appellant a longer sentence after trial than he received pursuant to an earlier plea agreement.

6. The district court did not err in summarily denying appellant’s petition for postconviction relief.

Nos. A12-0956 and A13-0922 (Minn. May 7, 2014).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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