This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
State of Minnesota,
Carlyle Lloyd Eckart,
St. Louis County District Court
File No. K795600785
Alan L. Mitchell, St. Louis County Attorney, Gary W. Bjorklund, Assistant County Attorney, 100 North 5th Avenue West, Suite 501, Duluth, MN 55802 (for respondent)
Michael Robert Inglimo, Attorney at Law, P.O. Box 008, Superior, WI 54880 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Amundson, Presiding Judge, Crippen, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.
Appellant Carlyle Lloyd Eckart appeals from denial of postconviction relief, arguing that the evidence did not support the postconviction court’s findings that he waived his right to challenge “anti-shuttling” and timing violations of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD). Because the evidence shows that the technical violations of the IAD’s provisions were made to accommodate the wishes of appellant and his counsel, we hold that vacating his conviction is not warranted and affirm.
Police arrested appellant after finding cocaine in his residence and on his person during the execution of a search warrant. In December 1995, the state charged appellant with second-degree possession of cocaine with intent to sell in violation of Minn. Stat. § 152.022, subd. 1(1) (1994) and third-degree possession of cocaine in violation of Minn. Stat. § 152.023, subd. 2(1) (1994). Appellant attended his first appearance hearing but missed his omnibus hearing because he had been arrested in Wisconsin and remained in custody there.
To secure appellant’s appearance in St. Louis County District Court, Minnesota placed a detainer on him pursuant to the Interstate Agreement on Detainers, codified in Minnesota at Minn. Stat. § 629.294 (1994). Appellant waived extradition proceedings, and in June 1996, a St. Louis County District Court judge ordered appellant’s transfer from Wisconsin to Minnesota. Appellant was arraigned in Minnesota a second time on August 21, 1996. Proceeding pro se with standby counsel, appellant expressed his frustration with the interstate transfer system. According to appellant, incomplete paperwork had prevented him from appearing in Minnesota sooner, and he was unhappy about the amount of time he waited in custody in Wisconsin. Appellant explained that the Minnesota hold interfered with his Wisconsin parole release, and said that he wanted to “get home.”
The district court judge sympathized with appellant, but told appellant that as a Minnesota district court judge, he did not have any control over appellant’s custody status in Wisconsin. To help appellant, the judge reinstated his bail. The district court told appellant he was “clean” as far as Minnesota was concerned, but that Wisconsin’s hold remained in force. The district court set a September 9 omnibus hearing, and it was thought that appellant would stay in custody in Minnesota until that hearing.
Instead, on August 29, for reasons not explained in the record, appellant was transferred back to Wisconsin. The transfer prevented appellant from appearing at his September 9 omnibus hearing in Minnesota. In Wisconsin, free of Minnesota’s hold, appellant secured his parole release on September 12 or 14. Thereafter, appellant’s counsel requested at least eight continuances of the Minnesota case, for a variety of reasons, from October, 1996 to July, 1998. Appellant ultimately entered a guilty plea, and the district court, in November 1998, sentenced him to a 44-month prison term.
In July 1999, appellant filed a pro-se petition for postconviction relief, arguing that his conviction should be vacated on the grounds that the state violated the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD) by allowing his return to Wisconsin after his August 21, 1996 arraignment hearing. Appellant further claimed that the numerous delays in his case violated other timing provisions of the IAD. The postconviction court denied relief, finding that appellant waived his right to challenge violations of the IAD’s “anti-shuttling” provisions when he requested release so that he could resolve his Wisconsin custody problems. The postconviction court also found that appellant, by repeatedly seeking continuances, waived his right to challenge any violations of the IAD’s timing provisions. Appellant contests those rulings.
A petitioner seeking postconviction relief has the burden of establishing, by a fair preponderance of the evidence, facts which warrant a reopening of the case. Minn. Stat. § 590.04, subd. 3 (1998). This court’s scope of review is limited to whether there is sufficient evidence to support the postconviction court’s findings. Perry v. State, 595 N.W.2d 197, 200 (Minn. 1999). Where the evidence is sufficient, we will not disturb the decision of the postconviction court absent an abuse of discretion. Gassler v. State, 590 N.W.2d 769, 771 (Minn. 1999).
Appellant first claims that the evidence did not support the postconviction court’s finding that he waived his right to challenge the state’s violation of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD), Minn. Stat. § 629.294 (1994). The purpose of the IAD is to encourage cooperative procedures between jurisdictions to promote timely disposition of outstanding charges, secure affected defendants a speedy trial, and mitigate interference with prisoner treatment and rehabilitation. Id., art. I. The “anti-shuttling” provision of the IAD’s article III(d) provides for the dismissal of a complaint lodged against a defendant in a recipient jurisdiction if the defendant is returned to the original jurisdiction of imprisonment before trial is held in the recipient state. See id., art. III(d).
Appellant claims that Minnesota authorities violated the IAD by transporting him to Wisconsin on August 29, 1996. The postconviction court found that a technical violation of the IAD took place when the district court lifted its hold on appellant and released him on bail, allowing his return to Wisconsin. But, as the postconviction court observed, not every violation of the IAD warrants dismissal of the complaint or, as in this case, vacating the conviction.
In State v. Lewis, 422 N.W.2d 768 (Minn. App. 1988), this court held that the IAD:
[s]hould not be mechanically applied without an examination of the circumstances of the case in light of the purpose of the agreement. It is anomalous to apply the law so literally that its application subverts its very purpose. If the circumstances show that the technical application of the agreement does not serve one of the protective functions, it should not be so applied.
Id. at 771. In State v. Fuller, 560 N.W.2d 97 (Minn. App. 1997), review denied (Minn. Apr. 24, 1997), this court held that a defendant waives his right to seek dismissal under the IAD when the record shows that the defendant requested the transfer that violated the agreement. Id. at 99. Fuller was given a compassionate transfer at his request so that he could receive cancer treatment, then sought and was granted a dismissal based on a violation of the “anti-shuttling” provision of the IAD. Id. This court reversed, reasoning:
To allow Fuller to seek a transfer on grounds of a medical emergency and then successfully petition the district court to dismiss the charges against him due to a technical violation of the IAD would allow manipulative abuse of the system.
It is important to remember * * * the purpose of the IAD * * * .
In this case, the postconviction court found that appellant sought to return to Wisconsin, and further found that by doing so, appellant waived his right to seek dismissal under the IAD after his request was granted. Although appellant never made a direct request to return to Wisconsin, his testimony at the August 21, 1996, arraignment hearing clearly shows that he wanted to arrange parole from Wisconsin’s custody so that he could “get home,” and the Minnesota detainer prevented him from achieving that goal. The invocation of magic words by the defendant is not required to find waiver; the testimony here constitutes sufficient evidence to support the postconviction court’s findings. Appellant waived his right to contest his return to Wisconsin by seeking release from Minnesota’s custody.
Appellant next claims that the evidence does not support the postconviction court’s finding that he waived his right to challenge violations of IAD provisions providing for speedy disposition of charges. The IAD requires that trial be commenced within 180 days of the prisoner’s arrival in the receiving jurisdiction, but allows the court to grant any necessary or reasonable continuance. Minn. Stat. § 629.294, art. III(a). Appellant arrived in Minnesota on or about August 21, 1996.
The record does not show when detainers placed on appellant were lifted. But it appears that when appellant was released from Minnesota’s custody on August 21, 1996 and then from Wisconsin’s custody in mid-September, 1996, he ceased to be subject to detainers in either jurisdiction. The IAD no longer applied, and any subsequent delays do not violate its provisions. See id., subd. 1 (the IAD governs detainers). Even if the IAD continued to apply, appellant’s attorneys requested at least eight continuances between his October 2, 1996, omnibus hearing and his guilty plea in October, 1998. The evidence sufficiently supports the postconviction court’s finding that appellant waived his right to challenge the timing provisions of the IAD by repeatedly seeking continuances.
The postconviction court decided that these facts did not warrant vacating appellant’s conviction. We hold that the postconviction court’s decision was not an abuse of discretion. The record shows that some confusion may have caused needless delays in appellant’s case. Vacating appellant’s conviction, however, is not warranted based on the technical violations of the IAD that may have occurred when the district court accommodated the wishes of appellant and his counsel.