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State v. Wills

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

October 21, 2013

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
Shawn Michael Wills, Appellant.


Stearns County District Court File No. 73-CR-10-1539.

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Janelle P. Kendall, Stearns County Attorney, Carl Ole Tvedten, Assistant County Attorney, St. Cloud, Minnesota (for respondent).

David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Sean Michael McGuire, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant).

Considered and decided by Schellhas, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and Hooten, Judge.


Appellant challenges his probation revocation, arguing that the district court erred by revoking his probation because one of the three probation conditions that he allegedly violated was never imposed by the court. Because the district court found that appellant violated two other probation conditions that were imposed by the court, we affirm.


This appeal arises out of appellant Shawn Wills's 2011 conviction of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a ten-year-old daughter of a woman whom Wills dated. Wills admitted that he had a significant relationship with and sexually penetrated the victim. At sentencing, Wills moved for a downward dispositional departure and the district court granted his request, staying the presumptive 144-month sentence and imposing 30 years of supervised probation with probation conditions, orally stated on the record, that included the following: successful completion of an approved sex-offender-treatment program, as directed by Wills's probation officer, and following all recommendations; seeking assistance from a medical provider to address symptoms of depression; and completion of a polygraph test for case-management purposes.

Wills continued his relationship with the victim's mother after he began sex-offender treatment. During treatment Wills signed a statement that included the following: "I may be terminated from the program for failure to make adequate progress. This includes . . . addressing my past and current behavior honestly." He also acknowledged having victimized other minors for which he had not been charged criminally. In mid-March 2012, the treatment program instructed Wills to not have contact with his ten-year-old victim's mother until he satisfied program requirements that included passing a polygraph test and adequate improvement.

On June 26, 2012, Wills admitted during treatment to having sexually abused two of his biological daughters and eight additional victims for which he was not charged. A polygraph test showed Wills to be "deceptive and untruthful with his sexual history, " causing the program concern that Wills might have been withholding additional information about his sexual contact with his children or other family members. Wills also admitted that he lied to the treatment-program staff about his whereabouts and admitted to spending time with and having sexual contact with his ten-year-old victim's mother. When staff asked Wills if he used birth control, he broke his pencil in half, forcefully pushed his chair from the table, swatted his water bottle across the room, and yelled, "'Fine she's f-ck-ng pregnant! Okay! She's f-ck-ng five months pregnant!'" The treatment program terminated Wills because of his questionable amenability to treatment and his risk to the community.

A probation agent recommended that the stay of Wills's sentence be vacated based on three probation violations: "[f]ailure to complete sex offender treatment program and follow all recommendations, " "[f]ailure to [s]eek assistance from medical provider to address symptoms of depression, " and "[f]ailure to [c]ooperate and be truthful with probation in all matters." At Wills's probation-revocation hearing, the district court admitted copies of the treatment-program termination letter and a psychosexual report. In contrast to the psychosexual report submitted to the district court before sentencing, which reported Wills's sexual-abuse history as nonexistent, the new psychosexual report stated that Wills had an "extensive [history of] sexually abusive behavior, " including his abuse of 11 different people, including two of his biological daughters—once when one was an infant—and girls generally between ages 6 and 12. The probation agent affirmed that a "general condition" of Wills's probation was that he "cooperate with and be truthful with probation in all matters, " that Wills failed to be honest, and that Wills is unamenable to probation. Wills agreed that he had failed to be honest but stated that he wanted to resume sex-offender treatment. Wills's counsel conceded that Wills had violated the probation condition that required him to seek help for depression.

The district court found that Wills intentionally and inexcusably violated three of his probation conditions by "not completing sex offender treatment, " "not seeking medical treatment to address his symptoms of depression, " and "not being completely honest and truthful with his probation agent." The court further found that "Wills is not amenable to treatment in the community" and that "the benefits of probation are outweighed by the risks [to] the community." The court revoked Wills's ...

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