State v. Carson, Minn.S.Ct., 10/11/2017. The problem with refusing to interpret statutes is that sometimes the results are pretty ridiculous. A section of the DWI statutes makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle while knowingly under the influence of a hazardous substance. Minn.Stat. 169A.20, subd. 1(3). A "hazardous substance" is defined as "any chemical or chemical compound that is listed as a hazardous substance in rules adopted under chapter 182 (occupational safety and health). Not listed in these rules is something called "DFE" which it turns out is a propellant in those cans of compressed air used to clean keyboards and the like.
Ms. Carson said that because DFE isn't listed in the rules it's not a "hazardous substance," and so she can't be convicted of driving under its influence. Justice Hudson agrees and throws out the conviction. The state, along with Justice McKeig, said, wait, there's more. Another section of the rules contains a "list" of the relevant characteristics of hazardous substances, and DFE meets those characteristics. Justice Hudson doesn't really answer the question just why the rules would contain a "list" of characteristics that make something a "hazardous substance" as well as a "list" of actual substances unless it meant for the "list" of actual substances to be aspirational rather than exclusive. It can't possibly be that the legislature intended this result, but, again, the court has been out of the business of interpreting statutes far too long to care.