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State of Minnesota v. Claudio Palacios-Salinas

April 29, 2013

STATE OF MINNESOTA, RESPONDENT,
v.
CLAUDIO PALACIOS-SALINAS, APPELLANT.



Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CR-11-24425

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

This opinion will be unpublished and may not be cited except as provided by Minn.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

Affirmed

Considered and decided by Larkin, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Rodenberg, Judge.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION HALBROOKS, Judge

In this sentencing appeal following his conviction of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, appellant Claudio Palacios-Salinas argues that the district court abused its discretion by denying his motion for a downward dispositional departure. We affirm.

FACTS

Palacios-Salinas was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for engaging in multiple instances of sexual intercourse with the 13-year-old daughter of a family with whom he was living. Palacios-Salinas pleaded guilty to both charges.

After Palacios-Salinas entered his plea, the district court referred the matter to probation for a presentence investigation (PSI), including a psychosexual evaluation. During the PSI, Palacios-Salinas initially denied sexually assaulting the victim but eventually confessed. The psychosexual evaluator concluded that Palacios-Salinas was amenable to treatment despite his failure to demonstrate full accountability for his offenses. Probation reported that it did not find any substantial and compelling reasons to support a sentencing departure.

Palacios-Salinas moved the district court for a downward dispositional or durational departure, noting his amenability to sex-offender treatment, lack of criminal history, acceptance of responsibility, and the best interests of society as grounds for a departure. At sentencing, each party presented information and arguments concerning whether a departure was warranted in this case. Citing the "heinous" nature of the crime and the age of the victim, the state opposed a departure and requested that the presumptive sentence be imposed. Defense counsel advocated for a departure, reiterating the points made in his memorandum to the district court and raising two additional factors: the difficulty of receiving sex-offender treatment in prison for a Spanish-only speaker and the adverse immigration consequences that Palacios-Salinas already faced for having reentered the country illegally. At the hearing, Palacios-Salinas apologized for his crimes.

After counsels' arguments and Palacios-Salinas's allocution, the district court denied appellant's motion for a departure, explaining:

In the pre-sentence interview, I don't know that you gave this the gravi[ty] that I think it needs to have. I've had an opportunity to speak with counsel on a couple of occasions. Initially, we had a long conversation about what the right response was, what the right sentence was in this case. Your lawyer stated pretty clearly what he thought was the appropriate response. . . . I'm going to decline to do that. I'm going to deny the motion for departure.

The district court adjudicated Palacios-Salinas guilty and imposed the presumptive sentences for his ...


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