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State v. Greenough

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

June 11, 2018

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Joel Evan Greenough, Appellant.

          Crow Wing County District Court File No. 18-CR-12-4934

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Donald F. Ryan, Crow Wing County Attorney, Rockwell J. Wells, Assistant County Attorney, Brainerd, Minnesota (for respondent)

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

          Considered and decided by Smith, Tracy M., Presiding Judge; Cleary, Chief Judge; and Rodenberg, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         A district court may not vacate a stay of adjudication, impose a presumptively stayed sentence, and execute that sentence, without additional findings satisfying Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296, 124 S.Ct. 2531 (2004).

          OPINION

          CLEARY, CHIEF JUDGE

         Appellant Joel Evan Greenough challenges his executed 36-month sentence, arguing that the district court's vacation of his stay of adjudication, imposition of sentence, and execution of his presumptively stayed sentence, based on violations of the terms of his probation, was an unauthorized departure from the sentencing guidelines. We reverse and remand.

         FACTS

         On October 26, 2012, appellant was charged with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.344, subd. 1(b) (2010), in connection with an incident in May 2011. On that same day, appellant entered a plea in accordance with a plea agreement and the district court withheld acceptance of the plea pending the completion of a presentence investigation report. On December 13, 2012, appellant received a stay of adjudication for a term of five years and was placed on supervised probation with extensive conditions. The district court explained the conditions of the stay of adjudication, which included a requirement that appellant remain law abiding and submit to random drug testing; refrain from any contact with any minors; and complete a psychosexual evaluation. The district court also advised appellant of the possible collateral consequences of the "revocation" of his stay of adjudication, which included predatory-offender registration and prohibitions on voting, jury duty, and holding public office. After advising appellant of the terms of his probation and the consequences of revoking the stay of adjudication, the district court released appellant from custody.

         Appellant violated the terms of his probation multiple times. He failed to find suitable housing; failed to comply with the requirements at the approved facilities; failed to comply with random drug testing; used intoxicants; and eventually absconded from the approved facility. At a hearing on August 23, 2013, the district court addressed the violations. The state requested that the stay of adjudication be vacated and that the presumptively stayed 36-month sentence be imposed and executed. The district court treated the hearing as a probation-revocation hearing and made findings in accordance with State v. Austin, 295 N.W.2d 246, 250 (Minn. 1980). The district court found that: (1) appellant violated the terms of his release; (2) appellant's violations were intentional and inexcusable; and (3) the need for confinement outweighed the policies in favor of probation. The district court then "revoked" the stay of adjudication, imposed the presumptively stayed 36-month sentence, and executed that sentence. Appellant filed a motion to correct his sentence, arguing that the imposition and execution of his sentence was an unauthorized sentencing departure. The district court denied appellant's motion to correct his sentence, in part, because it found that appellant was "sentenced" under the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines when he received a stay of adjudication. This appeal follows.

         ISSUE

         When a stay of adjudication is vacated, is execution of a presumptively stayed sentence an unauthorized sentencing ...


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