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Browder v. State

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

June 12, 2017

Spidel Wayne Browder, petitioner, Appellant
v.
State of Minnesota, Respondent.

         Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CR-13-24713

          Spidel Wayne Browder, Faribault, Minnesota (pro se appellant)

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Linda M. Freyer, Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Considered and decided by Rodenberg, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and John Smith, Judge. [*]

         SYLLABUS

         A defendant imprisoned for aiding and abetting third-degree criminal sexual conduct is subject to the mandatory ten-year conditional-release period described by Minnesota Statutes section 609.3455, subdivision 6 (2012), because he is committed to the commissioner of corrections "for a violation of" Minnesota Statutes section 609.344 (2012).

          OPINION

          ROSS, Judge.

         The district court sentenced Spidel Browder to prison followed by a ten-year conditional-release term after a jury convicted him of aiding and abetting third-degree criminal sexual conduct for helping another man rape a barely conscious woman. Browder unsuccessfully moved the district court to correct his sentence, challenging the validity of the conditional-release term and the calculation of his criminal-history score. On appeal, he argues that the conditional-release statute does not authorize a ten-year conditional-release period for aiding and abetting someone else's criminal sexual conduct and that the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission's directive to assign felony points to statutorily-converted felonies violates the separation-of-powers doctrine. Because the plain language of the conditional-release statute mandates a ten-year post-prison conditional-release period for aiding and abetting criminal sexual conduct, and because Browder's criminal-history-score argument lacks merit, we affirm.

         FACTS

         Passersby alerted police when they saw Spidel Browder propping up a partially stripped, severely intoxicated, essentially unconscious woman while another man sexually penetrated her limp body. A jury convicted Browder of aiding and abetting third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The district court sentenced him to 74 months in prison based on one criminal-history point for a prior felonious robbery. The court also imposed a ten-year conditional-release period under Minnesota Statutes section 609.3455, subdivision 6. Browder appealed his conviction, and we affirmed. See State v. Browder, No. A14-0595 (Minn.App. Mar. 2, 2015), review denied (Minn. May 19, 2015).

         Browder soon filed two identical motions to correct his sentence. He asserted that no criminal-history point should have been assigned for his robbery conviction because the felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor by operation of law after he completed his probationary sentence. The district court denied both motions, determining that Browder's criminal-history score was correct.

         Browder filed another motion to correct his sentence in August 2016, again arguing that he should not have been assigned the criminal-history point. He added a separation-of-powers argument, maintaining that the sentencing guidelines commission lacks authority "to define a stay of imposition as a felony and assign a felony criminal history point for a conviction." He also argued that the ten-year conditional-release period cannot stand because he was convicted only of aiding and abetting third-degree criminal sexual conduct under Minnesota Statutes section 609.05 (2012), which, unlike third-degree criminal sexual conduct itself, is not enumerated as a qualifying offense in Minnesota Statutes 609.3455, subdivision 6. He based his argument on the supreme court's reasoning in State v. Noggle, 881 N.W.2d 545, 550-51 (Minn. 2016), which held that attempt crimes under Minnesota Statutes section 609.17 are not subject to the conditional-release statute.

         The district court rejected Browder's arguments and denied his ...


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