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Ronnie Patterson, Jr.

Other Minnesota Exonerations
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On the night of September 15, 2008, 31-year-old Ronnie Patterson Jr. left the halfway house in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he was serving a term of probation for an attempted armed robbery conviction to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. He did not return as required and later that night, a warrant for his arrest was issued.

The following day, officers from the Minnesota Department of Corrections Fugitive Apprehension Unit arrested him at his sister’s home in Minneapolis. Patterson claimed he was just “relaxing” and waiting for police to come and get him. Police said he was hiding in the basement.

Patterson was charged with failing to register as a predatory offender based on a conviction in 1998 in Illinois. At that time, he was charged with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault; two counts of criminal sexual assault; and one count each of vehicular invasion, vehicular hijacking, robbery, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and unlawful restraint. He pled guilty to the charge of unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle and the remaining counts were dismissed.

On December 17, 2008, Patterson pled guilty to failure to register as a predatory offender and was sentenced to 20 months in prison. Two years later, Patterson filed a motion to vacate his guilty plea, contending that he was not required to register. The motion was granted and on August 22, 2011, he went to trial in Hennepin County District Court. After a one-day trial, a jury convicted him and he was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Because he was sentenced to time he had already served, he was released, but was placed on probation for 10 years.

Patterson appealed the conviction. On August 20, 2012, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the conviction and dismissed the case.

The appeals court ruled that Patterson was not required to register as a predatory offender because the crime he pled guilty to in Illinois—possession of a stolen motor vehicle—was not on the list of out-of-state crimes required for registry by the Minnesota predatory offender statute.

Patterson filed a claim for compensation and in April 2017, the petition was granted when a judge concluded that he was eligible because no crime was committed. In 2018, Patterson was awarded $131,636 in compensation.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 8/17/2018
State:Minnesota
County:Hennepin
Most Serious Crime:Other Nonviolent Felony
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2008
Convicted:2008
Exonerated:2012
Sentence:1 year and 8 months
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:31
Contributing Factors:Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No