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State v. Crenshaw

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

December 2, 2013

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
Donald Dequai Crenshaw, Appellant.


Ramsey County District Court File No. 62-CR-11-10182.

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and John J. Choi, Ramsey County Attorney, Kaarin Long, Assistant County Attorney, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent)

Cathryn Middlebrook, Interim Chief Appellate Public Defender, Charles F. Clippert, Special Assistant State Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)

Considered and decided by Hooten, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Stauber, Judge.


Appellant pleaded guilty to felony domestic assault and fourth-degree criminal damage to property in exchange for an anticipated imposition of a gross misdemeanor sentence. A term of the plea agreement required him to remain law-abiding, which was defined by the district court, in part, as refraining from being charged with additional misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony offenses between the plea and sentencing hearings.

After being charged with multiple criminal offenses during the time period between the plea and sentencing hearings, the district court imposed the presumptive prison sentence for felony domestic assault and denied appellant's request for an evidentiary hearing relative to the issue of whether appellant violated his plea agreement. Appellant challenges the denial of his request for an evidentiary hearing on due process grounds. We affirm.


On December 27, 2011, appellant Donald Dequai Crenshaw was charged with one count of felony domestic assault and one count of fourth-degree criminal damage to property. The matter proceeded to a jury trial on May 7, 2012. On May 10, 2012, after voir dire proceedings, appellant pleaded guilty to both counts. The felony domestic assault charge was to be sentenced as a gross misdemeanor in exchange for the plea.

During his plea hearing, appellant acknowledged that he understood that he was to cooperate with a presentence investigation and remain law-abiding and that, if he failed to do so, the district court was not required to follow the plea agreement at sentencing. After accepting the guilty plea, the district court once again reminded appellant that he had to remain law-abiding and cooperate with the presentence investigation in order to receive the benefit of his agreement. The district court explained that remaining law- abiding "means that [appellant] cannot pick up any new charges, arrests or convictions at the level of a misdemeanor or greater, " to which appellant responded, "[a]ll right." Appellant was also informed by the district court that failure to do so would permit the district court to impose a harsher sentence than that which was agreed upon:

If you do everything that I have just outlined, you will get the benefit of this plea, all right. However, if you fail to do even one thing, then the Court gets to keep your guilty plea and I sentence you however I think most appropriate. All right. In most instances that will be harsher than the terms of your plea. If you do what you're supposed to, I'll do what I'm supposed to. All right?

Appellant then communicated his understanding of this arrangement.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for June 28, 2012. At this hearing, appellant's attorney requested a continuance until a pending criminal matter was resolved, and the state explained that appellant "picked up" two felony charges since entering his guilty plea. Based upon information provided by the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, the district court took "judicial notice" that appellant was arrested on May 30, 2012, for second-degree attempted burglary in Ramsey County and later charged with second-degree attempted burglary and attempted burglary, and was again arrested on June 2, 2012, and charged with first-degree aggravated robbery in Hennepin County. The district court indicated that because of these criminal charges, which violated the terms of the plea agreement, it was not required to sentence appellant to a gross misdemeanor under the agreement. Appellant's attorney requested an evidentiary hearing to determine "if [appellant] did, in fact, fail to remain law abiding" and objected to the use of police reports and the new complaints as ...

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