This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).

 

STATE OF MINNESOTA

IN COURT OF APPEALS

CX-99-1976

 

Keith Allen Palmquist, petitioner,

Appellant,

 

vs.

 

State of Minnesota,

Respondent.

 

Filed July 3, 2000

Reversed and remanded

Shumaker, Judge

 

Kandiyohi County District Court

File No. KO980208

 

John E. Mack, Mack & Daby, 26 Main Street, P.O. Box 302, New London, MN 56273 (for appellant)

 

Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 102 State Capitol, St. Paul, MN 55155; and

 

Boyd Beccue, Kandiyohi County Attorney, Tracy Perzel, Assistant County Attorney, 316 Southwest Fourth Street, Willmar, MN 56201 (for respondent)

 

Heard and considered by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Shumaker, Judge, and Poritsky, Judge*

 

 

 

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

SHUMAKER, Judge

Appellant Keith Allen Palmquist challenges the district court's refusal to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea.  He argues that he justifiably relied on a mistaken interpretation of law regarding a direct consequence of his plea.  We reverse and remand.

FACTS

Appellant Keith Allen Palmquist was charged with Fourth-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, Minn. Stat. § 609.345, subd. 1(c) (1998); Fifth-Degree Assault, Minn. Stat. § 609.224, subd. 1(1) (1998); and Domestic Assault, Minn. Stat. § 609.2242, subd. 1(1) (1998).  Palmquist's counsel and the prosecutor determined that, if Palmquist entered an Alford plea to an amended charge of Fifth-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct under Minn. Stat. § 609.3451, subds. 1(1) and 2 (1998), he would not have to register as a sex offender.  With that understanding, Palmquist entered the plea.

At sentencing, the district court made no reference to registration as a sex offender and imposed one year in jail with a stay of execution.  The community corrections department later determined that Palmquist was required to register as a sex offender.  Palmquist moved the district court for an order excepting him from the registration requirement.  The district court denied the motion and ordered Palmquist to register.  Palmquist petitioned for postconviction relief, requesting that he be allowed to withdraw his plea.  He appeals from the district court's denial of his petition.

 

D E C I S I O N

The decision to deny a petition for withdrawal of a guilty plea is within the district court's discretion and will be reversed only when that discretion is abused.  Kim v. State, 434 N.W.2d 263, 266 (Minn. 1989).  We limit our review to determining whether sufficient evidence exists to sustain the district court's findings.  Perkins v. State, 559 N.W.2d 678, 685 (Minn. 1997).

A criminal defendant may withdraw his plea of guilty after sentencing upon proof that "withdrawal is necessary to correct a manifest injustice."  Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 1.  A manifest injustice occurs if a guilty plea is not accurate, voluntary, and intelligent.  Perkins, 559 N.W.2d at 688.  Therefore, a plea may be withdrawn if the defendant did not understand the consequences of the plea at the time of pleading.  Id. at 689.

Minn. Stat. § 243.166 (1998) mandates sex-offender registration upon certain convictions: 

A person shall register under this section if: (1) the person was charged with or petitioned for a felony violation of or attempt to violate any of the following, and convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for that offense or another offense arising out of the same set of circumstances: * * * (iii) criminal sexual conduct under section 609.342; 609.343; 609.344; 609.345; or 609.3451, subdivision 3.

 

Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 1(a)

Palmquist maintained his innocence of all charges until the day set for his jury trial.  On that day, Palmquist's counsel informed him that he and the prosecutor had reviewed the law and negotiated a plea agreement that would relieve Palmquist of the obligation to register as a sex offender.  Because the prosecutor and defense counsel had determined that Palmquist could avoid sex-offender registration, he agreed to enter an Alford plea of guilty to Minn. Stat. § 609.3451, subds. 1(1) and 2.

At the time of the plea, it appeared to defense counsel and the prosecutor that Palmquist would not have to register because the statutory subdivisions under which he pleaded guilty were not listed in the sex-offender registration statute.

Eight months after Palmquist pleaded guilty, the Minnesota Supreme Court decided Boutin v. LeFleur, 591 N.W.2d 711 (Minn. 1999), cert. denied, 120 S. Ct. 417 (1999).  Boutin was charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct under Minn. Stat. § 609.344, subd. 1 (1998), and two counts of assault.  Id. at 713.  He pleaded guilty to one of the assault counts and the other charges were dismissed.  Id. at 713-14.  The trial court sentenced him to serve a prison term.  Id. at 714.  Before his release from prison, his case manager told him that he had to register as a predatory sex offender.  Id. He registered and then challenged the constitutionality of the registration statute.  Id.  One of Boutin's arguments was that registration as a sex offender was “absurd and unreasonable” because he was not convicted of a sex offense.  Id.  He also contended that the statute by its language did not require him to register.  Id. at 715.

The supreme court held that the registration statute had a plain and logical meaning, particularly when read in the context of its amendment.  Id.  Furthermore, the court rejected Boutin's argument that only a predatory offense would trigger the registration requirement.  Id. at 716.  Three justices dissented, stating that Boutin would not be required to register unless the trial court made a finding that his conviction arose out of the same circumstances as the charged, but dismissed, sex offense.  Id. at 719.  There was no such specific finding.  The dissent also noted that Boutin specifically denied the alleged sex offense.  Id.

Although Boutin did not change the law, it did clarify the registration requirement.  Prior to Boutin, persons learned in the law might reasonably, albeit mistakenly, have come to the same conclusion about the registration requirement that Palmquist's defense counsel and the prosecutor reached.  Moreover, it appears that the district court and the corrections department made the same mistake because neither informed Palmquist of the registration requirement at or about the time of sentencing. [1]

Because Palmquist was justifiably mistaken in his belief that he would not have to register as a predatory sex offender, and because he reasonably relied on that mistaken belief in entering an Alford plea, his plea was not knowing and voluntary.  See Perkins, 559 N.W.2d at 689; Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 1.

However, even if Palmquist justifiably relied on a mistaken interpretation of the law, he is not entitled to withdraw his plea if the mistake related to a collateral consequence of the plea.  See Alanis v. State, 583 N.W.2d 573, 578, (Minn. 1998) (holding collateral consequence not sufficient basis to withdraw plea).  Alanis held that immigration sanctions are collateral, rather than direct, consequences of a guilty plea because

deportation is neither definite, immediate, nor automatic.  Before a resident alien such as Alanis can be deported, the INS must exercise its discretion to commence deportation proceedings and, prior to deportation, there are various administrative procedures which must be followed.

Id. at 578-79.

In State v. Rodriguez, 590 N.W.2d 823, 825 (Minn. 1999), review denied (Minn. May 26, 1999), the supreme court held that a convicted person's loss of the right to possess a firearm is a collateral consequence of the conviction because the government has discretion in deciding whether to charge the person with a violation of the firearms prohibition.

Unlike Alanis, the act required by the registration statute is definite, immediate, and automatic.  Unlike both Alanis and Rodriguez, enforcement of the registration law is not discretionary.  When Palmquist entered his plea the statute mandated compliance upon release from prison, Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 1 (1998), and did not grant discretion to waive or modify the duty.  Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 2 (1998).[2]

Predatory sex-offender registration is so definite, immediate, automatic, and mandatory that it is a direct and integral consequence of the guilty plea.  Therefore, it is not a collateral consequence of the plea.

Because Palmquist's guilty plea was not knowing and voluntary as to one of its direct consequences, the district court abused its discretion in denying his petition to withdraw his plea.

Reversed and remanded.

 



* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.

 

[1] Minn. Stat. §  243.166, subd. 2, mandates that

[w]hen a person who is required to register under subdivision 1, paragraph (a), is sentenced * * * the court shall tell the person of the duty to register under this section.  * * * If a person required to register under subdivision 1, paragraph (a), was not notified by the court of the registration requirement at the time of sentencing or disposition, the assigned corrections agent shall notify the person of the requirements of this section.

 

[2] We note that, had Palmquist entered his plea after the 1999 legislature clarified that a district court “may not modify the person’s duty to register in the pronounced sentence or disposition order,” there would be no issue as to whether a court had discretion.  Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 2 (Supp. 1999).