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State ex rel. Leino v. Roy

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

April 9, 2018

State of Minnesota, ex rel. Steven Leino, petitioner, Appellant,
v.
Tom Roy, Commissioner of Corrections, Respondent.

          Anoka County District Court File No. 02-CV-16-3150

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Amy Lawler, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Rachel Bell, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Considered and decided by Bratvold, Presiding Judge; Larkin, Judge; and Florey, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         The Minnesota Department of Corrections' use of review hearings in administering re-incarceration of offenders for violations of conditional release is lawful.

          OPINION

          LARKIN, JUDGE.

         Appellant challenges the district court's denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing, in part, that respondent Minnesota Commissioner of Corrections (commissioner) exceeded his authority by using review hearings as a decision-making tool when determining whether to release appellant following his re-incarceration for violating his conditional release. We affirm.

         FACTS

         In 2007, appellant Steven Leino was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. The district court stayed imposition of sentence and placed him on probation. In 2009, Leino was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The district court revoked Leino's probation on his fourth-degree criminal-sexual-conduct conviction and imposed a 21-month prison term and a ten-year conditional-release term. The district court sentenced Leino to a concurrent 51-month prison term and a lifetime conditional-release term on his third-degree criminal-sexual-conduct conviction.

         In July 2011, Leino began the supervised-release portion of his sentence. In February 2012, Leino was arrested for failing to cooperate with sex-offender treatment, which violated a condition of his release. The Minnesota Department of Corrections' (DOC) Hearings and Release Unit (HRU) revoked Leino's supervised release, and Leino returned to prison. In August 2012, the commissioner released Leino from prison to an approved residence in Wright County. In December 2012, Leino completed the supervised-release portion of his sentence and began serving his lifetime conditional- release term. He was required to successfully complete sex-offender programming as a condition of release.

         In January 2013, the HRU revoked Leino's conditional release for one year and ordered him to complete sex-offender programming while in prison because he had not cooperated with sex-offender treatment in the community. On December 16, 2013 and December 8, 2014, the HRU held review hearings and extended Leino's incarceration for one year and for 240 days, respectively, to give him more time to complete sex-offender treatment. On July 19, 2015, Leino completed sex-offender treatment in prison.

         On August 10, 2015, the HRU held a review hearing and extended Leino's term of incarceration for up to 90 days, to give him time to find suitable housing. Leino's supervision was assigned to an intensive supervised release (ISR) team in St. Cloud. On November 9, 2015, the HRU held a review hearing and again extended Leino's term of incarceration for 90 days unless his ISR team could find him suitable housing before then. On December 8, 2015, Leino appealed his continued incarceration to the HRU's executive officer of hearings and release. His appeal was denied.

         On February 8, 2016, the HRU held another review hearing and extended Leino's term of incarceration for 30 days unless his ISR team could find him suitable housing before then. On March 14, 2016, the HRU again held a review hearing and extended Leino's term of incarceration for 150 days unless his ISR team could find him suitable housing before then.

         On June 23, 2016, Leino petitioned the district court for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that he was unlawfully detained by the commissioner, the commissioner was not authorized to hold review hearings, and the commissioner impermissibly deferred to counties in determining whether he could release predatory offenders into those counties. On July 6, 2016, the commissioner released Leino to three-quarters housing at the Wright County Detention Center.[1]

         On March 28, 2017, the district court held a hearing regarding Leino's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The district court heard legal arguments, but it did not hold an evidentiary hearing. On June 16, 2017, the district court issued an order denying Leino's requests for habeas relief and dismissing his petition, reasoning that Leino could only obtain habeas relief if he was restrained because of a ...


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