Polk County District Court File Nos. K7-03-1658, KX-03-813, K4-03-1391. Clearwater County District Court File No. K7-03-196.
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge; Harten, Judge; and
1. The comments to the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines are advisory and are not binding on the courts.
2. Where there is a conflict between the clear and unambiguous language of a guidelines text and the comment accompanying that guideline, the text controls.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gordon W. Shumaker, Judge
Appellant was on probation for a gross-misdemeanor driving while under the influence of alcohol conviction when he committed various felonies. In sentencing the felonies, the district court added a custody point to appellant's criminal history score for the probation custody status. Relying on a comment to the sentencing guidelines, appellant contends that the court erred by adding a custody point for probation for a non-felony traffic offense. Because the clear text of the guideline provides a custody point for gross-misdemeanor probation, without exception, and because the text of the guideline controls over a comment to the guideline, we affirm.
Appellant Jerad Brent Rouland pleaded guilty to four felonies. At the time of those offenses, he was on probation for a gross-misdemeanor driving while under the influence of alcohol conviction.
Prior to sentencing, the district court received a Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Sentencing Worksheet for each offense. Each worksheet showed a presumptive sentence of 12 months and 1 day and none assigned any criminal history points for Rouland's probation.
The state moved to add one point to Rouland's criminal history score because Rouland was on probation when he committed the felonies. Rouland objected, arguing that his probation was for a traffic offense and that non-felony traffic offenses are not considered when determining custody status points. The district court agreed with the state, added a custody status point to Rouland's criminal history, and sentenced him accordingly. Rouland appealed.
Did the district court err in assigning a custody status point to appellant's criminal history score because he was on probation for a gross misdemeanor DWI ...