Court of Appeals reverses Swift County conviction of offender who gave wrong address
A predatory sex offender listed the wrong street, by one block, when he registered a new address as required by law. The mistake was discovered, and when he failed to correct it in a timely manner, he was charged. The Court of Appeals found the defendant had made an honest mistake and reversed the conviction.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of a 50-year-old Kerkhoven man on a charge that he failed to register as a predatory sexual offender.
Raciel Zalva Zalvidar-Proenza was sentenced March 5, 2019, to 30 months in prison for the conviction, to be served concurrently with a sentence for a separate conviction.
The ruling issued Monday reverses a verdict issued by a Swift County jury on Oct. 26, 2018.
According to the court record, Zalvidar-Proenza went to the Swift County Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 27, 2016, to update his place of residence. English is not his first language, but he orally told the office worker in English that he had changed his address to a house number on Ninth Street Southeast when his new address was actually the identical house number but on 10th Street South.
On April 9, 2017, a deputy performing a routine compliance check discovered the incorrect street address and informed Zalvidar-Proenza. The defendant said it must have been a mistake on his part and said he would change it. When he had not corrected the mistake on June 22, 2017, the state charged him for violating registration requirements. The complaint listed the offense as April 9, 2017, the date the mistake was discovered by a sheriff’s deputy. On July 28, 2017, Zalvidar-Proenza corrected the registration document.
The complaint against him was subsequently amended to list the offense date as on or about Dec. 27, 2016, to April 9, 2017.
In its decision, the Court of Appeals pointed out that the house number of the new address was correct, but the street was off by one block. “The similarities between the wrong new address that Zalvidar-Proenza provided on December 27 and the former address rationally lead to a conclusion this was an honest mistake,” stated the court.
The court also found that the state had not shown any motive or benefit associated with the wrong address that could prove it was an intentional act. Law enforcement knew the correct address. The court noted that the state did not charge Zalvidar-Proenza in April when it discovered the mistake, but did so in June when he had not yet corrected it.
The evidence suggests Zalvidar-Proenza made a mistake and did not knowingly violate the law, according to the Court of Appeals.