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Posted on: December 2, 2021

Minnesota Supreme Court Upholds Guilty Plea for Drug Dealer

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The Minnesota Supreme Court today affirmed the conviction and guilty plea for Michael Anthoney Fugalli, 31, of Faribault. Fugalli was charged in 2018 with selling heroin to an informant.  Fugalli pled guilty in November 2018 and then fired his public defender and filed a motion to withdraw his plea.  The trial court denied his motion, finding that his plea was accurate. 

Fugalli appealed the decision to the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court which both affirmed the conclusion of the trial court.  Fugalli argued that his plea was not accurate because he offered to sell 13 grams of heroin and only delivered 8.9 grams after the packaging was removed.   

The Supreme Court found that the statutory definition of sell, which includes “sell, offer to sell, and possession with intent” to sell controlled. In other words, a defendant can be prosecuted for what they offer to sell, as well as what they actually deliver.  The court determined that Fugalli’s plea was therefore accurate and he had not provided a basis to withdraw his plea.  

Assistant County Attorney Brian Mortenson represented the state in the plea hearing and initial prosecution. Former Chief Assistant Terence Swihart briefed the case on appeal, and Rice County Attorney John Fossum argued the case at the Supreme Court.  “This was truly a team effort and we are pleased that the trial court was affirmed in the appellate decisions,” Fossum said.  

CONTACTS:
John Fossum, Rice County Attorney  (507)-332-6103
Sara Folsted, Rice County Administrator (507) 332-6121 

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