Ramsey County District Court. File No. K9014414.
Considered and decided by Willis , Presiding Judge; Schumacher , Judge; and Anderson , Judge.
Heightened scrutiny of upward durational departures is required to ensure that sentences for sex offenders are not improperly based on public-safety concerns already addressed by"risk management tools" such as registration, community notification, and the possibility of civil commitment, that are separate from the prison sentence imposed.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert H. Schumacher, Judge
The supreme court has remanded the appeal of Charles Conrad Hagen from his sentence for first-degree criminal sexual conduct for reconsideration in light of the court's opinion in Taylor v. State, 670 N.W.2d 584 (Minn. 2003). This court ordered supplemental briefing, in which Hagen argues that the less-than-double upward departure in this case was an abuse of discretion. We affirm.
Hagen pleaded guilty in March 2002 to first-degree criminal sexual conduct committed against 13-year-old J.N., an autistic girl who lived in the house in which Hagen rented an apartment. The complaint charged a single count under Minn. Stat. 609.342, subd. 1(g), which requires that the offender engaged in sexual penetration with a victim under the age of 16 with whom he had a"significant relationship."
The plea agreement, as outlined in the Rule 15 plea petition, provided that Hagen would plead guilty to the offense as charged and be able to"argue down[ward] departure based on amenability to probation." In the guilty-plea hearing, Hagen admitted that he sexually penetrated J.N. Hagen testified that his attorney had discussed with him the"significant relationship" element, which was based on his living in the same residence as the victim.
At sentencing, the district court characterized this case as"one of the more horrendous cases of child sexual abuse that I have seen." The district court sentenced Hagen to 216 months, an upward departure from the presumptive sentence of 144 months. In support of the departure, the court stated:
The basis for that departure is that you entered the victim's zone of privacy, that being that this took place in her home, and outside of the home for that matter; that it created great psychological and emotional trauma to the victim in this case; and, most importantly, that this child was particularly vulnerable due to her many disabilities.
The court concluded that these factors, along with"the deception that [Hagen] engaged in," ...