Reversed and remanded Hennepin County District Court File No. 1076444
Considered and decided by Shumaker , Presiding Judge, Schumacher , Judge,
and Klaphake , Judge.
1. A case is"pending" for purposes of the application of State v. Misquadace, 644 N.W.2d 65 (Minn. 2002), when the time for direct appeal of a sentence had not yet expired as of the time the Misquadace opinion was filed.
2. A sentencing court violates the supreme court's prohibition as set forth in Misquadace when the sentence is four-and-one-half times the presumptive sentence, without citing the severe aggravating factors on which it relied.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert H. Schumacher, Judge
Appellant Joen Sanchez-Sanchez claims the district court erred in sentencing her to 54 months following her guilty plea to the crime of child endangerment, an upward departure of four-and-one-half times the presumptive sentence under the sentencing guidelines. We reverse and remand.
On September 11, 2001, Sanchez was providing daycare for B.E. in her own home. She claims that while she was carrying B.E., she either dropped him or he hit his head on something. Soon after, B.E. began vomiting and had difficulty breathing. Sanchez picked B.E. up and shook him violently. When the child did not respond, Sanchez laid him on the bed and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Sanchez eventually called 911. The emergency personnel responded and resuscitated B.E., but he suffered permanent brain damage.
Sanchez acknowledged that she knew better than to shake a child, and she admitted knowing she took a serious risk in doing so. Sanchez was charged with first-degree assault and, against the advice of her attorney, agreed to plead guilty. At the plea hearing, however, the district court rejected the assault plea after hearing Sanchez's explanation of what happened. The court stated that Sanchez was claiming she made a grave mistake, but that she did not act with the intent to injure the child.
The state then amended the complaint, adding a charge of child endangerment. This felony charge carries a penalty of up to 60-months imprisonment. Minn. Stat. §á609.378 subd. 1(b)1 (2000). The amended charge alleged that Sanchez either intentionally or recklessly caused the child to be in a dangerous situation and the endangerment resulted in substantial harm to the child. The court informed Sanchez:
If you plead guilty to [child endangerment], we will have a sentencing hearing after a guilty plea in several weeks, and I will hear whatever you have to say, whatever [the state] has to offer, whatever your attorneys have to offer. And I make you no promises. You may, in fact, go to prison for 60 months, it may be less. I don't know.
Defense counsel informed Sanchez of the consequences of a guilty plea on the endangerment charge. After defense counsel told Sanchez she could be sentenced to between 0 and 60 months at the discretion of the court, the state interjected:
[Prosecutor]: I just have something to add at this point, since that is not correct. This is an agreement between the court and [Sanchez]. It is the position of the state that the agreement was Endangerment for 60 months. The court is exercising its discretion to accept the plea to Endangerment and to determine the exact amount of time to impose at the time ...