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State ex rel. Duncan v. Roy

Supreme Court of Minnesota

November 16, 2016

State of Minnesota, ex rel. Demetris L. Duncan, Appellant,
Tom Roy, Commissioner of Corrections, Respondent.

         Court of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Jennifer L. Lauermann, Assistant Public Defender, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for appellant.

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Kelly S. Kemp, Rachel E. Bell, Assistant Attorneys General, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for respondent.


         Under the plain and unambiguous language of Minn. Stat. § 609.109, subd. 7 (2004) (repealed 2005), appellant is not entitled to credit against his conditional-release term for the time he spent in prison after the Department of Corrections revoked his supervised release.



          ANDERSON, Justice.

         Appellant Demetris Duncan filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, claiming that the Department of Corrections (DOC) had incorrectly calculated the expiration date of his sentence. Specifically, Duncan argued that, after the DOC revoked his supervised release, it failed to credit his incarceration time against his mandatory conditional-release term. The district court and the court of appeals disagreed and upheld the DOC's determination of the expiration date of Duncan's sentence. Because the phrase "the time the person served on supervised release" under Minn. Stat. § 609.109, subd. 7 (2004) (repealed 2005), does not include incarceration time served after the DOC revokes an inmate's supervised release, we affirm.


         On the evening of July 8, 2000, Duncan entered a stranger's apartment, located in St. Cloud, through an unlocked door. Duncan proceeded to the bedroom, where he found a woman asleep in bed with her young child. Duncan woke up the woman, threatened her with a knife, and dragged her into the next room, where he raped her.

         Duncan was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.342, subd. 1(d) (2014), to which he later pleaded guilty. The district court committed Duncan to the Commissioner of Corrections for a term of 196 months, which constituted a double upward durational departure from the presumptive sentence. Duncan appealed his sentence, arguing that his conduct did not justify a double upward durational departure. In an unpublished opinion, the court of appeals upheld Duncan's sentence. State v. Duncan, No. CX-01-1400, 2002 WL 378146, at *3 (Minn.App. Mar. 12, 2002), rev. denied (Minn. May 14, 2002).

         As required by Minn. Stat. § 244.101, subd. 1 (2014), Duncan's sentence consisted of a term of imprisonment, which was originally 130-2/3 months, and a supervised-release term, which was originally 65-1/3 months. While incarcerated, Duncan was disciplined and sentenced to an additional 28 days of imprisonment. As a result, Duncan was not scheduled for release until August 2011, and his supervised-release term was projected to expire in December 2016. See Minn. Stat. § 244.05, subd. 1b(a) (2014) (providing that the supervised-release term is equal to the entire term of the sentence, minus the term of imprisonment and any time the inmate spends in prison as a result of discipline imposed by the Commissioner of Corrections).

         Because he is a sex offender, Duncan was also sentenced to a conditional-release term.[1] See Minn. Stat. § 609.109, subd. 7 (2004). Accordingly, the Commissioner of Corrections was instructed to place Duncan on conditional release after Duncan completed his sentence. See id. Duncan was sentenced to 5 years of conditional release, "minus the time [he] served on supervised release." Id., subd. 7(a).

         Originally, Duncan was projected to serve 65-1/3 months on supervised release. When Duncan was sentenced, the DOC calculated the expiration date of an offender's sentence by assuming that the conditional-release term ran concurrently with the supervised-release term. See generally State v. Koperski, 611 N.W.2d 569, 572-73 (Minn.App. 2000) ("[S]upervised release and conditional release periods must run concurrently."), abrogated by State ex rel. Pollard v. Roy, 878 N.W.2d 341 (Minn.App. 2016), rev. granted (Minn. June 29, 2016). In other words, by subtracting Duncan's projected supervised-release term from his 5-year conditional-release term, Duncan would not serve additional time on conditional release beyond the time he served on supervised release. Consequently, the DOC originally projected that Duncan's conditional-release term would expire in August 2016-nearly 4 months before his supervised-release term was set to expire.

         On August 18, 2011, the DOC released Duncan from prison on supervised release. As a condition of his supervised release, Duncan was required to secure approved housing-specifically, housing where no children were present. Because Duncan was unable to secure approved housing before his release, he was transported to the Stearns County jail where a hearing was held to determine whether he had violated the terms of his supervised release. A corrections agent testified that Duncan had been unable to secure approved housing, that there were no halfway houses available in Stearns County that would accept a level-three ...

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