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Andy Tillotson v. Minnesota Department of Corrections

April 29, 2013


Minnesota Department of Corrections

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bjorkman, Judge

This opinion will be unpublished and may not be cited except as provided by Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2012).


Considered and decided by Stauber, Presiding Judge; Connolly, Judge; and Bjorkman, Judge.


Relator challenges the revocation of his conditional release. Relator argues that (1) his statutory right to a supervised-release term precludes revocation of his conditional release during his supervised-release term; and (2) he was only subject to conditions of supervised release, and his violation of those conditions does not support revocation of his conditional release. We affirm.


Relator Andy Tillotson was convicted of first-degree driving while impaired (DWI) on February 22, 2008. The district court imposed a 46-month executed sentence, with a five-year conditional-release term pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 169A.276 (2006). On June 25, 2009, the Minnesota Department of Corrections (department) released Tillotson from prison on work-release status. The department imposed special and standard conditions of release, including a requirement that Tillotson maintain contact with his agent and keep his agent informed of his activities. The department provided Tillotson a document detailing the conditions of release, as well as his anticipated supervised-release date, supervised-release expiration date, and conditional-release expiration date.

Tillotson began his supervised-release and conditional-release terms on December 28. The department imposed new special conditions of release and reiterated the same standard conditions, including the contact requirement. The department once again provided Tillotson a document detailing those conditions. The document also noted Tillotson's supervised-release status and his conditional-release expiration date.

Tillotson violated the contact requirement, and the department issued a warrant for his arrest on January 19, 2011. Tillotson was arrested on April 30, 2012, and the department revised his supervised-release and conditional-release expiration dates to account for his 467-day absence. Tillotson's agent filed a violation report, recommending that Tillotson "be revoked for and returned for 730 days." Tillotson admitted that he violated the contact requirement but argued that he has a right to supervised release that precludes revocation of his conditional release while he is on supervised release. In the alternative, Tillotson argued that a 730-day sanction is excessive. After a hearing, a department hearings-and-release-unit (HRU) officer revoked Tillotson's conditional release and ordered him to serve 467 days in prison. Tillotson requested review, and an HRU executive officer affirmed the revocation of Tillotson's conditional release and the 467-day sanction. This certiorari appeal follows.


Administrative-agency decisions "enjoy a presumption of correctness." In re Revocation of Family Child Care License of Burke, 666 N.W.2d 724, 726 (Minn. App. 2003). We will reverse an administrative-agency decision only when it is arbitrary and capricious, exceeds the agency's jurisdiction or statutory authority, is made upon unlawful procedure, reflects an error of law, or is unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the entire record. Minn. Stat. § 14.69 (2012). We defer to the agency's factual findings, but we review de novo "the interpretation of statutes and their application to undisputed facts." Mattice v. Minn. Prop. Ins. Placement, 655 N.W.2d 336, 340 (Minn. App. 2002), review denied (Minn. Mar. 18, 2003). In interpreting a statute, we look to its plain language, taking into account the statute's structure and context. In re Robledo, 611 N.W.2d 67, 69 (Minn. App. 2000); see also Minn. Stat. § 645.08(1) (2012).

At issue here is the interplay between two statutes governing release from prison. The first, Minn. Stat. § 169A.276, requires an offender convicted of first-degree DWI to be subject to a five-year conditional-release term, which begins when the offender is "released from prison." Minn. Stat. § 169A.276, subd. 1(d). The statute authorizes the department to "impose any conditions of release that the [department] deems appropriate." Id. And if the offender "fails to comply with any condition of release," the department may revoke the offender's conditional release and order the offender to serve all or part of the remaining portion of the conditional-release term in prison. Id.

The second release statute, Minn. Stat. ยง 244.05, subd. 1b(a) (2006), applies to all offenders and calls for a supervised-release term as part of the pronounced sentence. The sanction for violating a supervised-released condition "is limited to serving the remaining time on the sentence imposed (a maximum of one-third of the ...

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