Monday, June 24, 2019

Minnesota DWI Attorney F. T. Sessoms Blogs on Minnesota DWI: This Week's Featured Minnesota DWI Case

The Minnesota DWI Case Of The Week is State v. Handeland (Decided June 24, 2019, Minnesota Court of Appeals, Unpublished) which stands for the proposition that ANY time spent in a Minnesota jail or for a mental evaluation must be credited when imposing jail time for an unrelated offense.

In 2012, the Defendant was convicted of First Degree DWI in Mille Lacs County and was given a sentence of 42 months stayed, with the Defendant to serve to 180 days jail, 60 of which were done in the jail facility with the remainder on electronic home monitoring. 

Mr. Handeland was arrested in April 2016 in Benton County for Felony DWI.  The District Court in Benton County found the Defendant incompetent to stand trial and he was ordered into the state's competency restoration program at the  Anoka County Treatment Center. Mr. Handeland was found competent in November 2016 and his Benton County case resumed, resulting in a guilty plea in April 2018.

In between the Defendant's return to competency and his April 2018 plea, he managed to get arrested on two separate fifth-degree controlled-substance offenses and spent additional days in local jails related to those offenses.

At the Defendant's 2018 sentencing in Benton County, the district court sentenced Handeland to 60 months in prison, stayed execution of the sentence and placed him on probation for seven years. The court awarded the Defendant 194 days of jail credit.

Mille Lacs County then brought the Defendant back to face a probation revocation hearing. The district revoked Handeland's probation and sentenced him to 42 months in prison and only awarded the Defendant eight days of custody credit.  How stupid!

On appeal, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the lack of custody credit and does a nice job explaining when a Defendant is entitled to credit for jail time and treatment. As stated by the Court:

"Between his 2012 Mille Lacs County arrest for DWI and the 2018 execution of his 42-month sentence for that DWI, Handeland spent approximately 389 days in custody. Those days largely fall into three buckets: the days spent in the Mille Lacs County jail related to the 2012 DWI; the days spent in local jails related to other convictions (primarily an additional DWI arrest and conviction in Benton County) and days spent in examination and treatment as part of his competency restoration. To properly calculate Handeland’s custody credit, we first address the Mille Lacs County jail time, clearly related to the underlying DWI conviction. Next, because both the second and third buckets of days involve unconnected cases, we then turn to the issue of how to evaluate credit for intrajurisdictional custody. Finally, we address the custody-credit standards for secure treatment for competency-restoration purposes."

60 Days In Mille Lacs County Jail:

"The Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure clearly state that a criminal defendant is entitled to jail credit for time spent in custody “in connection with the offense or behavioral incident being sentenced.” Minn. R. Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 4(B) (emphasis added). As the state concedes on appeal, although these days were not discussed at Handeland’s probation-violation hearing, they clearly were time spent in custody in connection with the original sentence and should count as custody credit."

Credit for Custody in Unconnected Cases:

In State v. Brown, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that jail time spent out-of-state will not be credited unless it is connected to the offense for which the Defendant is being sentenced.  But this does not apply to in-state, but unrelated cases.  The reason is, "In evaluating credit for intrajurisdictional custody, we seek to avoid four potential concerns: “de facto conversion of a concurrent sentence into a consecutive sentence; indigent persons serving effectively longer sentences as a result of their inability to post bail; irrelevant factors . . . affecting the length of incarceration; and manipulation of charging dates by the prosecutor so as to increase the length of incarceration"(citations omitted).

"Having reviewed the governing approach to intrajurisdictional credit, we turn to the time Handeland spent in other local jails. This constitutes 194 days—primarily related to the Benton County DWI—between his original Mille Lacs County sentencing and his probation revocation five years later....To deny credit without evaluating these days in light of the intrajurisdictional approach described above was error."

Mental Health Treatment Credit:

The Court of Appeals notes that Rule 20.01, subd. 11, states: "If the defendant is convicted, any time spent confined to a hospital or other facility for a mental examination under this rule must be credited as time served."

"As the state suggests, the rule only dictates jail credit for the examination period. Minn. R. Crim. P. 20.01, subd. 11. But our inquiry does not end with this rule. As this court explained in Bonafide, the language of the rule may simply not address—rather than affirmatively exclude—credit for competency-restoration treatment during a commitment."

"And to examine this issue of credit for treatment, the Bonafide court first looked at the supreme court’s expansion of custodial credit, in light of “the philosophy behind the rule.” Id. at 214. This court also, citing other state court decisions, explained that “the degree of deprivation of liberty in a mental commitment facility is equivalent to a jail or prison facility.” Id. And this court took note of the ABA Criminal Justice Mental Health Standard, which provides that a defendant detained for examination of competence “or treatment... to effect competence to stand trial should receive credit against any sentence ultimately imposed for the time of such pretrial confinement.” Id. at 215. As a result, the Bonafide court interpreted rules 20.01 and 27.03, subd. 4, as requiring credit against sentence for custodial time spent in a secure hospital under a rule 20 presentence commitment procedure.  We see no reason to retreat from Bonafide, to the more restrictive reading of rule 20 the state suggests."

Moral Of The Story:  In Minnesota, we give credit where credit is due!

If you or a loved one have been arrested for a Minnesota DWI, or are facing a DWI forfeiture of your motor vehicle, feel free to contact Minnesota DWI Attorney, F. T. Sessoms at (612) 344-1505 for answers to all of your Minnesota DWI questions.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Minneapolis DWI Attorney F. T. Sessoms Blogs on Minnesota DWI: This Week's Featured Minnesota DWI Case

The Minnesota DWI Case Of The Week is State v. Anderson (Decided June 17, 2019, Minnesota Court of Appeals, Published) which stands for the proposition that the use of a prior implied consent license revocation to enhance the severity of the current DWI charge does not violate due process provided the prior implied consent license revocation is "final" prior to the conviction for the current offense.  This case just basically follows State v. Wiltgen, 737 N.W.2d 561 (Minn. 2007).

In Anderson, the defendant was arrested for DWI on October 2, 2016 and on December 18, 2016.  Anderson filed a challenge to the October DWI license revocation but in April 2017, Anderson waived his right to further judicial review of the October license revocation.

On August 7, 2017. the state charged Anderson with 2nd Degree DWI Refusal using the October license revocation to enhance the charges stemming from his December 2016 arrest.

The Defendant filed a Motion To Dismiss the 2nd degree charge arguing that at the time the December offense was committed, the challenge to the October license revocation was not "final" and the revocation could not be used to enhance the present charge.  The Court of Appeals rejected the argument stating"

"The United States and Minnesota Constitutions guarantee due process of law for criminal defendants. U.S. Const, amend. XIV, § 1; Minn. Const, art. I, § 7. Due process requires an “opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.” State v. Krause, 817 N.W.2d 136, 145 (Minn. 2012) (quoting Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 333, 96 S. Ct. 893, 902 (1976)) (other quotation omitted). The United States Supreme Court has held that when an administrative proceeding, such as a license revocation, plays a “critical role” in imposing a subsequent criminal sanction, “there must be some meaningful review of the administrative proceeding.” United States v. Mendoza-Lopez, 481 U.S. 828, 837-38, 107 S. Ct. 2148, 2155 (1987). Accordingly, some “means of obtaining judicial review must be made available before the administrative order may be used to establish conclusively an element of a criminal offense."
"In Wiltgen, the supreme court applied the three-part test established in Mathews v. Eldridge. Id. at 568-70 (citing Mathews, 424 U.S. at 335, 96 S. Ct. at 903). After weighing the Mathews factors, the supreme court determined that the combined private interest and risk of an erroneous deprivation outweighed the government interest. Id. The supreme court held that the potential prejudice to the defendant “from the use of an unreviewed administrative revocation to enhance a subsequent DWI rises to the level of a violation of [the defendant’s] right to procedural due process.” Id. at 570."

"In footnote seven of Wiltgen, the supreme court considered whether the state was prejudiced by its ruling and determined that it was not. Id. at 572 n.7. The supreme court reasoned that, in future cases, the state “can delay the issuance of a second-degree DWI complaint until after the implied consent hearing has been conducted and the revocation has been sustained, or can charge third-degree DWI before the implied consent hearing and amend the complaint to add a second-degree DWI charge after the hearing."
"Like the defendant in Heino, Anderson filed, then waived review of, his petition for judicial review of his 2016 license revocation before the state served a complaint that asserted an aggravating factor for his 2016 DWI. Although Heino involved a defendant’s property interest, and Anderson’s due-process claim involves his liberty interest, the risk of an erroneous deprivation is slight for Anderson. See Heino, 762 N.W.2d at 264 (concluding that “the risk of erroneous deprivation in this case was minimal”). If Anderson had proceeded with judicial review of the 2016 license revocation and successfully obtained a rescission, then the state could not have used his revocation as an aggravating factor for his 2016 DWI."

Moral Of The Story:  If you can delay and delay and delay justice, you may be able to deny it!

If you or a loved one have been charged with a Minnesota DWI, feel free to contact Minneapolis DWI Attorney, F. T. Sessoms at (612) 344-1505 for answers to all of your Minnesota DWI and DUI questions.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Minneapolis DWI Lawyer F. T. Sessoms Blogs on Minnesota DWI: This Week's Featured Minnesota DWI Case

The Minnesota DWI Case Of The Week is State v. Donner (Decided June 10, 2019, Minnesota Court of Appeals, Unpublished) which stands for the proposition that a defendant need only make a prima facie showing to be entitled to a jury instruction.

Mr. Donner was arrested for a DWI on August 7, 2016 after driving home from a nightclub.  He testified at trial that someone slipped him a drug and that he was entitled to an involuntary intoxication jury instruction.

Mr. Donner testified he ordered a club soda at a night club while his friend went to the dance floor.  Mr. Donner had been in a car accident roughly a week before the arrest, and so, following his doctor’s recommendation, he did not have any alcoholic beverages to drink that night. He was also carrying about $300 in cash because he had been paid the same day.

Defendant testified that after his friend went to dance, he was approached at the bar by a woman he did not know. He purchased a drink for this woman. After chatting with this woman, appellant left his club soda at the bar while he went to the bathroom, and then came back and continued his conversation with the same woman at the bar for approximately 20 or 30 more minutes.

Mr. Donner then ended this conversation and joined his friend on the dance floor. After a short time, he “started to feel funny,” so he went back to the bar to buy a bottle of water. At this point, Donner noticed that most of the $300 in cash he had been carrying was gone. After looking and asking around for his missing money, the Defendant got upset and decided to leave the club.

R.A., a security guard at the parking lot Donner parked at, testified that appellant walked to the garage around 2:00 a.m. on August 7, 2016. Defendant appeared drunk, and R.A. told him to take a nap before driving. A.S., a second security guard at the parking garage, testified that he saw Defendant get into his car, sit without driving for four or five minutes, start driving, and almost immediately hit a parked car. R.A. then called 911 to summon the police.

Officer Ross Blair was one of the officers who responded to the call. When Officer Blair arrived, Defendant was asleep in his car and had to be woken up. Officer Blair testified that appellant showed signs of intoxication and failed multiple field sobriety tests, but did not smell like alcohol. Defendant also took a preliminary breath test for the presence of alcohol which did not detect any alcohol in appellant’s system. Police arrested Defendant based on his failed sobriety tests and took him to get tested for the presence of other chemicals in his system.

Police obtained a warrant for Defendant's blood, had a sample taken at a nearby hospital, and sent it to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to be tested for the presence of intoxicants. The test revealed that Defendant had a significant amount of alprazolam, more commonly known as Xanax, in his system. The therapeutic range for alprazolam is between .02 and .06 milligrams per liter, while the testing revealed appellant had a concentration of .074 milligrams per liter in his bloodstream. Appellant was eventually charged with second-degree driving while impaired in violation of Minn. Stat. § 169A.20, subd. 1(2) (2016), and careless driving in violation of Minn. Stat. § 169.13, subd. 2 (2016).

At trial, Defendant did not contest the fact that he drove while impaired, but testified that he did not knowingly consume any intoxicating substances the evening of his arrest. At the close of evidence, the district court considered whether to instruct the jury on the affirmative defense of involuntary intoxication. Though the district court noted that it was a “close call,” it elected not to include this instruction, concluding that Defendant had failed to establish a prima facie case.

On appeal, the Minnesota Court of Appeals justifiably reversed the district court.  It appears that the district court did not know the meaning of prima facie. Or, as stated by the Court of Appeals:

"It is beyond dispute that a party is entitled to an instruction on his theory of the case if there is evidence to support it.” State v. Ruud, 259 N.W.2d 567, 578 (Minn. 1977). If an instruction is “warranted by the facts and relevant law” it must be given. State v. McCuiston, 514 N.W.2d 802, 804 (Minn. App. 1994), review denied (Minn. June 15, 1994); see also State v. Moser, 884 N.W.2d 890, 905 (Minn. App. 2016) (noting that once a defendant meets “a burden of production by making a prima facie showing that the defense applies,” the district court must give a jury instruction on an affirmative defense)."

"A prima facie showing is that which is “based on what seems to be true on first examination, even though it may later be proved to be untrue.” Black’s Law Dictionary 1382 (10th ed. 2014) (defining “prima facie”). “[T]he defendant’s burden of making a prima facie showing that would entitle him to a jury instruction and the defendant’s burden of proving to the trier of fact by a preponderance of the evidence each element of the defense proffered are two separate inquiries.” State v. Voorhees, 596 N.W.2d 241, 250 n.2 (Minn. 1999)."
"We conclude that, when viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to appellant, appellant did establish a prima facie case for the affirmative defense of involuntary intoxication. Therefore, the district court abused its discretion when it declined to instruct the jury on involuntary intoxication."

Moral Of The Story:  While appearances may be deceiving, they are enough to get you a jury instruction.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a Minnesota DWI, feel free to contact Minneapolis DWI Lawyer, F. T. Sessoms at (612) 344-1505 for answers to all of your Minnesota DWI and DUI questions.