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In re Civil Commitment of Whipple

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

August 5, 2013

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of: Michael Ray Whipple

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Crow Wing County District Court File No. 18-PR-09-1005

Michael Whipple, Moose Lake, Minnesota (pro se appellant)

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Angela Helseth Kiese, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Donald F. Ryan, Crow Wing County Attorney, Brainerd, Minnesota (for respondent)

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

LARKIN, Judge

Appellant challenges the district court's denial of his requests for an evidentiary hearing under Minnesota Rule of Civil Procedure 60 and court-appointed counsel. We affirm.

FACTS

The district court indeterminately committed appellant Michael Ray Whipple as a sexually dangerous person (SDP) in September 2009. In September 2010, Whipple filed a petition for relief from judgment under Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure 60.02(c) and 60.02(f). The district court denied Whipple's request for relief, and this court affirmed the district court's decision.

In the present action, Whipple filed a "motion for [an] evidentiary hearing pursuant to rule 60.02(e)" asking "the committing court to look at the original commitment during an evidentiary hearing" because "during his commitment" at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) he has "not been offered adequate treatment to meet his needs." Whipple argued that the lack of treatment at MSOP violates his due-process rights. Whipple also raised double-jeopardy and equal-protection arguments. Whipple further argued that sexually dangerous persons "are . . . entitled to immediate release upon a showing that he/she is no longer dangerous." In addition to his request for an evidentiary hearing, Whipple moved the district court to appoint an attorney to represent him in the motion proceeding. The district court denied Whipple's requests, and this appeal follows.

DECISION

I.

On appeal, Whipple argues that the district court abused its discretion in denying his motion for an evidentiary hearing under Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(e) because "there are changed circumstances [that] require an evidentiary hearing."[1]

Under Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(e), "the court may relieve a party or the party's legal representatives from a final judgment . . . order, or proceeding and may order a new trial or grant such other relief as may be just" if "[t]he judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged or a prior judgment upon which it is based has been reversed or otherwise vacated, or it is no longer equitable that the judgment should have prospective application." "Rule 60.02(e) represents the historic power of the court of equity to modify its decree in light of changed circumstances." City of Barnum v. Sabri, 657 N.W.2d 201, 205 (Minn.App. 2003). "To prevail under Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(e), a moving party must show that a present challenge to an ...


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