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State v. Franson

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

December 10, 2018

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Michael Allen Franson, Appellant.

          Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CR-09-11740

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

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

          Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Schellhas, Judge; and Randall, Judge.[*]

         SYLLABUS

         A district court has jurisdiction to reimpose a mandatory conditional-release term if it was authorized by law at the time the district court removed it from the sentence and the defendant had not developed a crystallized expectation as to the finality of his sentence.

          OPINION

          HALBROOKS, JUDGE

         Following his conviction of failing to register as a predatory offender, appellant argues that the district court lacked jurisdiction to impose a ten-year term of conditional release. We affirm.

         FACTS

         Appellant Michael Allen Franson was required to register as a predatory offender following his 1987 conviction of criminal sexual conduct. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to one count of failing to register as a predatory offender. The district court sentenced Franson to 15 months in prison, a mitigated durational departure, but failed to include the statutorily mandated conditional-release term. See Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 5a (2016) (mandating imposition of a ten-year conditional-release term if the predatory offender is deemed to be a risk-level III at the time of the offense); see also Minn. Stat. § 244.052, subd. 3(a) (2016) (requiring commissioner of corrections to establish end-of-confinement review committee to assess risk level of predatory offenders who are near prison release date). Three months later, after the Minnesota Department of Corrections advised the district court that Franson was a risk-level-III offender, the district court amended the sentencing order to include the mandated ten-year conditional-release term. The district court amended Franson's sentence without a jury finding or Franson's admission of his risk-level status.

         In 2016, while Franson was serving the conditional-release term of his sentence, he moved to correct his sentence, asking the district court to vacate the conditional-release term based on two recent supreme court decisions, Reynolds v. State, 888 N.W.2d 125 (Minn. 2016), and State v. Her, 862 N.W.2d 692 (Minn. 2015). The district court construed the motion as a petition for postconviction relief.

         In Her, the supreme court held that a district court may not impose the ten-year conditional-release term for a conviction of failing to register as a predatory offender unless a jury finds or the defendant admits to being a risk-level-III offender. 862 N.W.2d at 696-700 (concluding that determination of defendant's status as a risk-level-III offender is constitutionally required to be found by a jury and risk-level determination is an administrative assessment that does not meet the prior-conviction exception to Sixth Amendment's jury-trial right). In Reynolds, the supreme court concluded that a defendant may challenge a conditional-release term by filing a motion to correct the sentence under Minn. R. Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9. 888 N.W.2d at 128.

         The district court granted Franson's motion, in part, and ordered a resentencing hearing for a jury to determine if Franson was a risk-level-III offender at the time of the offense. Franson appealed the district court's decision to hold a resentencing hearing. A special-term panel of this court dismissed the appeal on the ground that it was premature. See Franson v. State, No. A16-1872 (Minn.App. Feb. 28, 2017) (order).

         The district court held a resentencing hearing on September 25, 2017. Franson moved to terminate the proceedings and vacate the conditional-release term, arguing that the original complaint did not include any reference to his risk-level designation and that it was too late for the state to amend the complaint. In response, the state moved to amend the complaint. In a September 29, 2017 order, the district court denied the state's motion and terminated the proceedings, determining that, because the complaint did not allege that Franson was a risk-level-III offender, there was "no question for a jury to consider." Also on that date, the district court issued a second ...


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