Scott County District Court File No. 70-CR-06-8708
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Patrick J. Ciliberto, Scott County Attorney, Todd P. Zettler, Assistant County Attorney, Shakopee, Minnesota (for respondent)
David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Charles F. Clippert, Special Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Rodenberg, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Larkin, Judge.
Appellant challenges the revocation of his probation, arguing that the district court failed to adequately find that the need for his confinement outweighs the policies favoring probation. We affirm.
In 2006, appellant Barry Salvador Rodriguez was convicted of felony violation of an order for protection. The district court stayed the execution of a 21-month prison sentence and placed Rodriguez on probation for five years. As conditions of his probation, Rodriguez was required to complete a chemical-dependency evaluation, participate in a domestic-abuse program, abstain from using illegal drugs, submit to random drug testing, and remain law-abiding.
Rodriguez subsequently committed four probation violations. In February 2008, Rodriguez violated probation by using illegal drugs, failing to report to probation, and failing to complete a domestic-abuse program. In May 2009, Rodriguez violated probation, among other reasons, for failing to maintain contact with the probation department, failing to complete a chemical-dependency evaluation, and failing to submit to drug testing. In August 2009, Rodriguez again violated probation for failing to keep in contact with the probation department. After his third violation, the district court ordered Rodriguez to appear at a three-month review hearing and warned him that he would go to prison upon any further violations of his probation.
Rodriguez subsequently absconded from probation, failing to appear at his review hearing. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Nearly three years later, Rodriguez was located in Pennsylvania and extradited to Minnesota.
Upon returning to Minnesota, Rodriguez appeared before the district court for a fourth probation-revocation hearing. Rodriguez admitted that, in late 2009, he tested positive for illegal drug use, failed to submit drug-test samples, submitted diluted drug-test samples, and absconded from probation. The district court found that Rodriguez violated several aspects of probation, the violations were intentional and inexcusable, and "the need for confinement in this matter outweighs the policies favoring probation for the reason that it would unduly depreciate the seriousness of the violation if the probation here was not revoked." The district court revoked Rodriguez's probation and executed his 21-month prison sentence. This appeal follows.
The district court has broad discretion in determining whether there is sufficient evidence to revoke probation and should not be reversed unless there is a clear abuse of that discretion. State v. Austin, 295 N.W.2d 246, 249-50 (Minn. 1980). The sufficiency of the district court's findings under Austin is a question ...