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State v. Skinner

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

July 8, 2013

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Jacob John Skinner, Appellant.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Washington County District Court File No. 82-CR-11-577.

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Pete Orput, Washington County Attorney, Thomas D. Wedes, Assistant County Attorney, Stillwater, 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 Cleary, Presiding Judge; Johnson, Chief Judge; and Hooten, Judge.

JOHNSON, Chief Judge.

Jacob John Skinner challenges the revocation of his probation on the grounds that the district court did not make adequate findings related to the third Austin-Modtland factor and that the record does not support the district court's findings. We affirm.

FACTS

In March 2012, a Washington County jury found Skinner guilty of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.222, subd. 1 (2010). The conviction arose from a fight at an apartment complex in the city of Oak Park Heights in February 2011. The state introduced evidence that Skinner stabbed another man with a knife, causing a laceration to the man's left forearm and several puncture wounds to the man's chest and left side.

After the jury's verdict, the district court imposed a sentence of 27 months of imprisonment but stayed the sentence for seven years and placed Skinner on probation. The sentence was a downward dispositional departure from the presumptive guidelines sentence of a 27-month commitment. The district court ordered Skinner to serve 180 days in jail and imposed certain conditions of probation, including a prohibition on the use of alcohol or controlled substances, a requirement that Skinner submit to random drug testing, and a requirement that Skinner complete chemical-dependency evaluation and treatment.

In July 2012, the district court issued a warrant for Skinner's arrest based on a report that he had violated the conditions of his probation. After his arrest, Skinner admitted that he violated the conditions of his probation by using methamphetamine, by failing to submit to random drug testing, and by failing to complete an in-patient chemical-dependency treatment program. A district court judge found that Skinner intentionally violated the conditions of his probation but deferred to the sentencing judge for a decision on whether to revoke probation. Two days later, the sentencing judge conducted a probation-revocation hearing. A probation officer recommended that Skinner remain on probation, but the sentencing judge revoked Skinner's probation and executed his sentence. Skinner appeals.

DECISION

Skinner argues that the district court erred by revoking his probation. He contends that the district court failed to make findings related to the third Austin-Modtland factor that the record does not support the district court's findings and conclusion.

The supreme court has prescribed a three-step analysis for deciding whether to revoke probation. A district court may revoke probation only if the court (1) designates the specific condition of probation that has been violated, (2) finds that the violation was intentional or inexcusable, and (3) finds that the need for confinement outweighs the policies favoring probation. State v. Austin, 295 N.W.2d 246, 250 (Minn. 1980); see also State v. Modtland, 695 N.W.2d 602, 606 (Minn. 2005). A district court may find that the third Austin factor is satisfied if it finds that any of three sub-factors are present: (1) confinement is needed to "'protect the public from further criminal activity by the offender, '" (2) confinement is necessary to provide treatment, or (3) a further stay of the sentence "'would unduly depreciate the seriousness of the violation.'" Austin, 295 N.W.2d at 251 (quoting ...


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