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State v. Bluhm

June 17, 2003

STATE OF MINNESOTA, RESPONDENT,
v.
AMBER LYNN BLUHM, APPELLANT.



Pine County District Court File No. K0001492

Considered and decided by Randall , Presiding Judge, Shumaker , Judge, and Huspeni, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Minn. Stat. § 152.025, subd. 3(b) (2000), does not prohibit consideration of alternative dispositions when applying a minimum six-month sentence.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Huspeni, Judge*fn1

Reversed and remanded

OPINION

Appellant challenges her sentence for fifth-degree controlled-substance crime, arguing that (1) the district court erred in concluding it was required to incarcerate appellant for six months; and (2) Minn. Stat. § 152.025, subd. 3(b) (2000), does not require a mandatory minimum incarceration period of six months. Because the district court erred in concluding that it was required to sentence appellant to a mandatory six-month incarceration, we reverse and remand.

FACTS

Appellant Amber Bluhm was charged with first-degree and fifth-degree controlled-substance violations and subsequently pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine, a fifth-degree controlled-substance offense. She also had a prior fifth-degree controlled-substance conviction for possession of methamphetamine.

Before her sentencing, appellant filed several letters in support of the progress she had made in rehabilitation after her prior conviction. The letters indicated that she entered and completed a primary and aftercare chemical dependency treatment program, completed a three-month stay at a halfway house, returned to school and obtained her high school diploma, and regularly attended AA and NA meetings. Appellant also recently became a new mother.

The district court stayed imposition of sentence and placed appellant on probation for up to three years. As a condition of probation, appellant was ordered to serve six months in the county jail pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 152.025, subd. 3(b) (2000). The district court believed it had no discretion to stay the six-month incarceration. The court noted it would have considered mitigating factors and other dispositional alternatives had it been allowed to do so, but added the legislature in its wisdom or lack thereof, indicates that the Court shall, and when the language indicates shall that becomes mandatory language on the Court. So I have to impose a minimum of six months or up to a year.

This appeal resulted.

ISSUE

Did the district court err in interpreting Minn. Stat. ยง 152.025, subd. 3(b) (2000), to require a mandatory ...


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