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State v. Becker

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

May 28, 2013

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Zachary Steven Becker, Appellant.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Le Sueur County District Court File No. 40-CR-08-1122

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Brent Christian, Le Sueur County Attorney, Jason L. Moran, Assistant County Attorney, Le Center, Minnesota (for respondent)

David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Sara J. Euteneuer, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)

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

RODENBERG, Judge

Appellant challenges the district court's revocation of his probation following repeated probation violations, arguing that the evidence does not establish that the need for confinement outweighs the policies favoring probation. We affirm.

FACTS

In 2009 appellant Zachary Steven Becker was convicted of one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.344, subd. 1(b) (2008). The district court stayed adjudication and placed appellant on probation for ten years. Conditions of probation included that appellant "remain law-abiding, [with] no convictions of [any] misdemeanor or greater offense, " complete sex-offender treatment, and maintain contact with his probation officer.

In February 2010, the district court found that appellant violated his probation by failing to complete sex-offender treatment and by failing to follow conditions of his probation. The district court reinstated appellant's probation. Another violation report was filed in August 2010. At the subsequent revocation hearing, the district court found that the state failed to prove the violation.

In March 2011, appellant pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges. Appellant admitted at a probation violation hearing that these two misdemeanors amounted to a violation of his probation by reason of his having failed to remain law-abiding. Appellant also admitted that he had failed to complete the sex-offender treatment program, and that this was also a violation of his probation. The district court accepted the admissions, vacated the stay of adjudication, and imposed a 36-month prison sentence. The district court stayed execution of the sentence and reinstated appellant to probation with the additional condition that appellant register as a predatory offender.

In June 2011, appellant was arrested in Waseca County for failing to register as a predatory offender, a felony. Appellant pleaded guilty, and the district court stayed his 16-month prison sentence.[1]

In December 2011, appellant pleaded guilty to two new misdemeanor theft charges in Le Sueur County. The district court accepted appellant's admission that he violated his probation by failing to remain law-abiding by virtue of the misdemeanor theft convictions and by failing to report to his agent as directed. The court noted:

I may in the end sign the warrant for your commitment to the Commissioner of Corrections, but the decision to serve this prison sentence has been yours. And you have made it consistently. I look at a file where the sentencing is two-and-a-half years old and there [are] four separate probation violation reports in there. . . . There is only so far this can go. I think confinement is necessary here to protect the public from further criminal activity. . . . [I]t remains a fact, and it is—it is in my mind irresponsible to allow people who are committed of criminal sexual conduct offenses to walk the street without treatment . . . you are in need of correctional treatment, I hope it can be provided in—in confinement. . . . It appears to me that it can't be provided outside the confinement. And ...

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