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State v. Washington

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

March 27, 2017

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
W. C. Luther Washington, Appellant.

         Ramsey County District Court File No. 62-CR-15-6080

         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)

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Chang Y. Lau, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Hooten, Presiding Judge; Reilly, Judge; and Smith, Tracy M., Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         When determining whether a prior felony has decayed for the purpose of sentencing a current continuing offense, the "date of the current offense" is the date on which the continuing offense begins.

          OPINION

          REILLY, Judge.

         W.C. Washington appeals his sentence imposed after he was convicted of failing to register as a predatory offender under Minnesota Statutes section 243.166, subdivision 5(a) (2016). Washington argues that the district court erroneously considered his 1996 third-degree criminal-sexual-assault conviction when calculating his criminal-history score because the conviction decayed during his commission of the instant continuing offense, but before the conclusion of the continuing offense. Because the district court correctly calculated appellant's criminal-history score, we affirm.

         FACTS

         On December 31, 1996, Washington was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and sentenced to 36 months' imprisonment; the district court granted Washington credit for the 99 days he served in pretrial confinement; and the sentence expired on September 23, 1999. Under Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines 2.B.1.c (2016), a felony conviction cannot be used in computing a defendant's criminal-history score if 15 years have passed from the date of expiration of the prior felony to the date of the current offense. Washington's 1996 conviction decayed on September 23, 2014.

         Because Washington was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, he was required to register as a predatory offender for ten years from the date of his conviction. Minn. Stat. §§ 243.166, subds. 1(b)(1)(iii), 3(a), 6(a) (2016). When a person required to register "starts living at a new primary address, . . . the person shall give written notice of the new primary address to the assigned corrections agent or to the law enforcement authority with which the person currently is registered." Id., subd. 3(b) (2016). It is a felony to knowingly violate the provisions of the predatory-sex-offender-registration statute. Id., subd. 5(a). Between December 31, 1999, and September 23, 2014, Washington was convicted of violating the predatory-sex-offender-registration statute on four separate occasions. After each conviction, the ten-year registration period restarted and was extended by five years, as required under Minnesota Statutes section 243.166, subdivision 6(b) (2016), resulting in a registration period lasting until the year 2043.

         Between June 2013 and August 2015, Washington reported residing at a residence on Larpenteur Avenue in St. Paul. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (the BCA) sent three verification letters to this address over the almost 27-month period. Washington returned the first two letters, confirming that he resided at the listed address and that he understood his continuing obligation to immediately notify the BCA of a change to his permanent address. After Washington failed to return the third verification letter, St. Paul police officer Lynette Cherry contacted Washington to investigate his registration status. Washington informed Officer Cherry that he was residing on Douglas Street in St. Paul and had previously resided on Winifred Street in St. Paul. But Washington indicated that he did not register these addresses because he did not receive the verification forms. Officer Cherry notified Washington that he did not need the form to change his address; he could notify the BCA of a change to his address at any time at a St. Paul police station. Shortly thereafter, the state charged Washington with one count of knowingly failing to comply with registration requirements in violation of Minnesota Statutes section 243.166, subdivision 5(a).

         At Washington's court trial, the tenant of the Larpenteur Avenue apartment listed as Washington's address testified that Washington did not live with him from June 2013 to August 2015; but he allowed Washington to spend the night at his apartment on approximately ten occasions. The renter testified that he gave Washington permission to have his identification card mailed to this address; the tenant did not, however, permit Washington to continue using his address as Washington's mailing address. Officer Cherry also testified at Washington's court trial. Officer Cherry testified that, when she contacted Washington to verify his address, Washington indicated that he was residing on Douglas Street in St. Paul and had previously resided on Winifred Street in St. Paul. She explained that Washington failed to list these addresses as his primary or secondary addresses from June 2013 to August 2015.

         Because the district court concluded that Washington was required to register as a predatory offender until the year 2043 due to his four prior felony registration convictions, and because the district court determined that Washington knowingly violated the registration requirements from June 2013 to August 2015, the district court found Washington guilty of one count of failing to register as a predatory offender. At the sentencing hearing, the district court determined that Washington had a criminal-history score of five. This score included the 1.5 criminal-history points attributed to Washington for his 1996 third-degree criminal-sexual-conduct conviction. Washington did not dispute his criminal-history score at the sentencing hearing and agreed that he had a criminal-history score of five. The presumptive range for the offense committed by a person with a criminal-history score of five ...


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