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Williams v. State

Supreme Court of Minnesota

April 25, 2018

Tramayne Colfred Williams, Appellant,
v.
State of Minnesota, Respondent.

          Court of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Sean Michael McGuire, Assistant Public Defender, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for appellant.

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Kelly O'Neil Moller, Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and David Hauser, Otter Tail County Attorney, Kurt Mortenson, Assistant County Attorney, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, for respondent.

         SYLLABUS

         When a defendant files a motion under Minn. R. Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9, to correct a sentence after the time for direct appeal has passed, the defendant bears the burden of proving that the sentence was not authorized by law.

         Affirmed.

          OPINION

          GILDEA, Chief Justice.

         In this case we are asked to decide which party has the burden to prove the accuracy of the defendant's criminal-history score when a defendant brings a motion to correct his or her sentence under Minn. R. Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9, after the time to file a direct appeal has expired. Appellant Tramayne Colfred Williams brought motions under the rule, arguing that two Minnesota district courts miscalculated his criminal-history score because those courts treated his two Illinois drug-related convictions as felonies. The district courts denied the motions. The court of appeals affirmed. Because we hold that a defendant who files a motion under Minn. R. Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9, to correct a sentence after the time for direct appeal has passed bears the burden to prove the sentence was based on an incorrect criminal-history score, we affirm.

         FACTS

         Williams challenges the sentences he received in two criminal cases, one in Otter Tail County and one in Hennepin County. In Otter Tail County, Williams was charged with first-degree aggravated robbery, Minn. Stat. § 609.245, subd. (2016). He agreed to plead guilty to that charge on the condition that, assuming his criminal-history score was five, he would be sentenced to 84 months in prison. The district court deferred acceptance of Williams's guilty plea and ordered a presentence investigation.

         In Hennepin County, Williams was charged with, among other crimes, promoting prostitution, Minn. Stat. § 609.322, subd. 1(a)(2) (2016). The parties agreed that in exchange for his guilty plea to promoting prostitution, they would jointly recommend that Williams be sentenced to 96 months in prison, served concurrently with whatever sentence was imposed in the Otter Tail County case. The plea petition Williams filed stated that a 96-month sentence was a downward durational departure from a 180-month presumptive guideline sentence. The State also agreed to dismiss other charges.

         Williams pleaded guilty to and was sentenced on one count of promotion of prostitution in the Hennepin County case in November 2012. A summary report of his prior convictions prepared before sentencing stated in part that Williams had three Illinois felony convictions. The report assigned one-half point for an Illinois receiving-stolen-property conviction and two points for two Illinois drug-related convictions. In total, the report determined that Williams's criminal-history score was six. Williams did not object to the calculation of his criminal-history score. The Hennepin County District Court sentenced Williams to 96 months in prison.

         In January 2013, Williams was sentenced in the Otter Tail County case. The intervening Hennepin County conviction increased his criminal-history score. In addition to the Hennepin County conviction, the presentence investigation report stated that Williams had five out-of-state felony convictions, including three Indiana drug-related convictions and two Illinois drug-related convictions. The Indiana conviction at issue was assigned one and one-half points and the Illinois convictions were assigned two and one-half points. The report stated that Williams had received "[b]oot[-c]amp" sentences for the Illinois drug-related convictions.[1] The State did not introduce any additional evidence about the out-of-state convictions, and Williams did not contest the calculation of his criminal-history score. The district court determined that, based on the updated sentencing worksheet showing that Williams's criminal-history score was now eight, the bottom of the presumptive sentencing range was 92 months, and not the 84 months contemplated in the plea agreement. The court therefore imposed a 92-month sentence, to be served concurrently with Williams's sentence in the Hennepin County case.

         Williams did not directly appeal his sentence in either case. But, in August 2014, Williams filed pro se motions under Minn. R. Crim. P. 27.03, subdivision 9, to correct his sentence in each case. The district court in each case denied his motion. Williams later secured counsel and, in 2016, he ...


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