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State v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

August 12, 2013

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Michael Gilbert Brown, Appellant.

Ramsey County District Court File No. 62-CR-10-2030

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and John J. Choi, Ramsey County Attorney, Peter R. Marker, Assistant County Attorney, St. Paul, 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 Kalitowski, Presiding Judge; Johnson, Chief Judge; and Toussaint, Judge. [*]

SYLLABUS

A defendant who has been found guilty of a crime but has not yet been sentenced may not obtain dismissal of the complaint under the Uniform Mandatory Disposition of Detainers Act, Minn. Stat. § 629.292 (2012), on the ground that a sentencing hearing did not occur within six months of the defendant's request for a sentencing hearing.

OPINION

JOHNSON, Chief Judge

Under the Uniform Mandatory Disposition of Detainers Act (UMDDA), if a detainer is placed on a person who is incarcerated, the person may request that pending charges be brought to trial within six months, and the district court must dismiss the complaint with prejudice if that request is not timely honored. In this case, Michael Gilbert Brown seeks to invoke this provision of the UMDDA to dismiss a charge to which he pleaded guilty and for which he failed to appear for sentencing before he was imprisoned for a different offense. We conclude that Brown is not entitled to dismissal based on a delay in sentencing because the UMDDA requires dismissal of a complaint only if a defendant is not brought to trial for a determination of guilt or innocence within six months. Therefore, we affirm.

FACTS

In March 2010, the state charged Brown in Ramsey County with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct based on an incident that allegedly occurred in May 2009. In June 2010, on the day trial was scheduled to begin, Brown pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement that called for a downward durational departure from the presumptive guidelines sentence. A sentencing hearing was scheduled for August 2010, but Brown failed to appear.

In December 2010, the state charged Brown in Hennepin County with one count of felony simple robbery. In January 2011, he pleaded guilty, and the district court sentenced him to 38 months of imprisonment.

In February 2011, while Brown was imprisoned for the Hennepin County offense, the department of corrections provided him with a memorandum stating that Ramsey County had requested a formal detainer with respect to the charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The memorandum stated, "Because this detainer is a trial charge, meaning that you have been through the court process, you are ineligible to request Mandatory Disposition." In March 2011, Brown sent a letter to the Ramsey County District Court in which he requested that the court execute his bargained-for sentence and order the sentence to run concurrently with the sentence that he was serving on the Hennepin County charge. The district court acknowledged Brown's letter and forwarded it to Brown's attorney.

The record is silent for the next 10 months. In January 2012, the department provided Brown with a document entitled "Notice of Untried Indictment, Information or Complaint and of Right to Request Disposition." This document described (inaccurately, it turns out) the Ramsey County charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct as an "untried" complaint. The document also stated (again, inaccurately) that Brown had a right to request a final disposition and be brought to trial within 180 days. Brown did not sign the form.

In early April 2012, Brown submitted a pro se motion to dismiss the Ramsey County charge on the ground that the prosecutor and the district court had failed to comply with the UMDDA by not timely honoring his March 2011 request for a determination of his sentence. In late April 2012, the case proceeded to a sentencing hearing. The district court denied Brown's pro se motion to dismiss ...


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