STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Stephen Daniel Angotti,
Filed September 11, 2001
Reversed and remanded
Dissenting, Randall, Judge
Dakota County District Court
File No. K7001367
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Suite 500, 525 Park Street, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
James C. Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney, Kaarin Long, Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Dakota County Judicial Center, 1560 West Highway 55, Hastings, MN 55033 (for appellant)
Mark D. Nyvold, Richard J. Malacko, 1030 Minnesota Building, 46 East Fourth Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge, Hanson, Judge, and Lindberg, Judge.
The district court must clearly articulate its reasons supporting a sentencing order to stay an adjudication of conviction.
O P I N I O N
Respondent Stephen Daniel Angotti received public assistance from the Minnesota Family Investment Program and food stamps from May 1998 through March 2000. Angotti owns a cleaning company, which received its income through a contract with Huber Commercial Services. Angotti failed to report all of his income to Dakota County even though he was informed that he had to report all forms of income and that failure to due so was a crime. The county calculated that it had overpaid Angotti approximately $11,720.
Angotti was charged with four counts of theft by wrongfully obtaining public assistance, Minn. Stat. §§ 256.98, 393.07 (2000). Angotti pleaded guilty to count two for wrongfully obtaining public assistance from November 1998 to April 1999. Pursuant to the plea bargain, the remaining charges were dropped and Angotti agreed to make restitution of $11,720. The state indicated that it would seek a felony presumptive sentence of twelve months and one day stayed incarceration.
At the sentencing hearing, Angotti told the district court that his lack of understanding about the reporting requirements had led to his underreporting of income. Angotti stated that he thought that the money he received from Huber Commercial Services used to pay his employees was not considered income. He admitted that he had poor record-keeping practices. In addition, Angotti stated that a felony conviction would make it impossible for his company to obtain cleaning contracts because he would have to undergo criminal-background checks.
The district court, sua sponte, ordered a stay of adjudication and placed Angotti on probation for up to five years. The court stated:
In view of the circumstances and overall record of this case, this Court feels that perhaps the state may have had an uphill battle in proving the elements, especially the element of intent, beyond a reasonable doubt had this case gone to trial. However, Mr. Angotti has admitted wrongdoing and there should be consequence[s].
Under the unusual circumstances and confusion of this particular case and the facts related to this Court, I am going to stay adjudication of sentence in this matter, place you on probation for a period of zero to five years.
Reversed and remanded.
RANDALL, Judge (dissenting).
I respectfully dissent. The majority correctly notes that we reverse district court decisions regarding sentencing only for "a clear abuse of discretion." State v. Lattimer, 624 N.W.2d 284, 290 (Minn. App. 2001) (citation omitted), review denied (May 15, 2001). I do not find any clear abuse of discretion here by the district court. I would have affirmed.
* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.