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State v. Wickstrom - 405 N.W.2d 1 (Minn. Ct. App. 1987)

Rule:

Minn. R. Crim. P. 17.05 provides that the court may permit an indictment or complaint to be amended at any time before a verdict or finding if no additional or different offense is charged and if substantial rights of the defendant are not prejudiced.

Facts:

Defendant assaulted his mother and pregnant girlfriend. He kicked his girlfriend in the abdomen with steel-toed boots. The child was dead when delivered by emergency C-section on the day of the beatings. Following a pre-trial order permitting the State to amend the indictment, defendant was charged and convicted with criminal abortion, holding that the criminal abortion statute did not require a specific intent to terminated the pregnancy. The defendant was also convicted of first-degree assault and fifth-degree assault. On appeal, defendant asserted that it was error for the trial court to allow the state to amend the indictment. Furthermore, defendant argued that the trial court erred in concluding the criminal abortion statute did not require a specific intent to terminate the pregnancy.

Issue:

  1. Did the trial court abuse its discretion in allowing the state to amend the indictment?
  2. Did the trial court err in concluding the criminal abortion statute does not require a specific intent to terminate the pregnancy?

Answer:

1) No. 2) No.

Conclusion:

The Court ruled that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the State to amend the indictment to charge criminal abortion as the amended complaint did not change any essential element of the offense as given to the grand jury. Anent the second issue, the Court ruled that defendant's conduct came within the criminal abortion statute, Minn. Stat. § 145.412, subd. 1, and that the statute required only general intent.

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