Isanti County District Court File No. 30-CR-12-40
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Jeffrey R. Edblad, Isanti County Attorney, Stacy St. George, David M. Kraemer, Assistant County Attorneys, Cambridge, Minnesota (for appellant)
David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Roy G. Spurbeck, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Connolly, Presiding Judge; Worke, Judge; and Kirk, Judge.
We are asked to decide whether a prosecutor can condition consent to a stay of adjudication on specific sanctions that control the disposition of the sentencing judge. We conclude that, under the facts of this case, the state properly conditioned its consent to the stay of adjudication. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.
Appellant State of Minnesota charged respondent Tyler Andrew Matzer with one count of felony theft after he and two friends were discovered by Isanti police attempting to steal a snowmobile trailer and lawnmower. Respondent entered a guilty plea on May 24, 2012. The terms of a plea agreement contemplated a stay of adjudication and 20 days of executed jail time. The district court ordered a presentence investigation. The investigating agent recommended that the district court accept all the terms of the plea agreement, with the exception of the executed jail time. The agent asked the district court to consider granting credit for time served of four days, and imposing no additional jail time.
On July 12, the district court held a sentencing hearing where the state noted the variation between the terms of the plea agreement and the sentence recommended in the presentence investigation report. The state indicated that, if the court did not sentence according to the terms of the plea agreement, the state would no longer consent to the stay of adjudication. The district court then imposed a sentence consistent with the recommendation in the presentence investigation and the state moved to withdraw from the plea agreement and formalized its objection to the stay of adjudication. The district court subsequently granted the state's motion to withdraw from the agreement.
On November 1, respondent entered a plea of guilty with no plea agreement between the parties. On January 9, 2013, the district court held another sentencing hearing. To maintain consistency with the treatment of respondent's accomplices, the state recommended that the district court impose a sentence with the terms of the original plea agreement. The state conditioned its consent to a stay of adjudication upon the district court agreeing to follow the terms of the original plea agreement:
What I'm going to ask the Court to do is I'm going to ask the Court to treat [respondent] exactly as the other two defendants were treated in this. . . .
If the Court sentences identically as [the other defendants] were sentenced, the State agrees to a stay of adjudication. I think that's proper.
If the State—or if the Court does not sentence the same way, I just want to make it very clear that the State does not consent to a ...