Hennepin County District Court File No. 94-066353
Considered and decided by Harten, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and
1. A letter of the district court that is neither served on a criminal defendant nor filed with the court cannot be construed as an order to amend a sentence.
2. The expiration of a criminal sentence bars further proceedings to amend or increase the sanctions on a conviction.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Klaphake, Judge
Appellant Lee Thomas Martinek appeals from an order denying his petition for post-conviction relief. Appellant challenges the addition of a 10-year conditional release term to his sentence for second-degree criminal sexual conduct, arguing that the district court could not add sanctions after expiration of his sentence.
Because the district court judge's letter to the Department of Corrections (DOC), which was neither filed in the court file nor served on appellant, is not an effective order to amend appellant's sentence, and because appellant's sentence expired before a valid order was issued, we reverse.
On September 7, 1994, appellant pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for an offense committed on July 23, 1994. See Minn. Stat. § 609.343, subd. 1(a) (1994). At the time of this plea, appellant was on probation for a 1991 conviction for third-degree criminal sexual conduct. According to the plea negotiations, appellant agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a guidelines sentence, to be served concurrent with the 88-month unexecuted sentence on the 1991 conviction. No conditional release requirement was mentioned. See Minn. Stat. § 609.346, subd. 5 (1994).*fn1
On October 31, 1994, after a presentence investigation, the district court accepted appellant's plea, sentenced him to 54 months, and executed his suspended sentence on the 1991 conviction. Both sentences were to be served concurrently. At the sentencing hearing, the prosecutor stated:
One other thing [the probation officer] pointed out to me, under Minn. Stat. 609.346, Subd. 5, [appellant] will be on supervised release following the length of the sentence in that the Court is to advise him that he will be on supervised release. It is unclear whether he will have to serve an additional five years of release time or 10 years depending on how the Commissioner construes that statute regarding second or subsequent offenses with you. In any event, I think [appellant] should be aware that there will be additional supervisory period following his release from prison and parole status.
Neither appellant nor his attorney commented on the prosecutor's statements. The district court imposed the 54-month sentence, explaining that at least two-thirds of it must be served in prison and that the remaining one-third would be on supervised release, unless appellant committed a disciplinary violation. In that case, the court warned appellant that "if [he commited] a disciplinary violation in or out of prison [his] actual time in prison could be extended to the entire 54 months in this case." The court added, "What I am hearing here is if there's a lack of clarity and when we proceed to the ...