This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).







Harold Christopher Whitten,






State of Minnesota,




Filed July 9, 2002


Anderson, Judge


Hennepin County District Court

File No. 99117387



Harold C. Whitten, #168221, MCF-Faribault, 1101 Linden Lane, Faribault, MN  55021 (pro se appellant)


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN  55103-2106; and


Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County Attorney, Donna J. Wolfson, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN  55487 (for respondent)


            Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge, Anderson, Judge, and Hanson, Judge.


U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N


            Appellant was convicted of felon in possession of a firearm under Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(b) (1998).  The district court sentenced appellant to 60 months in prison, stayed the sentence, and placed appellant on probation.  In September 2000, the district court found that appellant had violated his probation and executed appellant’s sentence.  Appellant moved for a “sentence review,” essentially a petition for postconviction relief, and the district court denied appellant’s petition.  Because we conclude that appellant failed to raise the issues at the district court that he raises on appeal, we affirm. 


            In 1992, appellant Harold Christopher Whitten pleaded guilty to two felony controlled substance offenses.  The district court placed him on probation, and as one of his probation requirements, appellant was prohibited from possessing firearms. 

            Appellant was arrested for, and ultimately pleaded guilty to firearm-possession charge on March 15, 2000.  The district court, pursuant to a plea agreement, sentenced appellant to 60 months in prison, but stayed the sentence.  The district court placed appellant on probation subject to several conditions.  Appellant was required to serve several days in the workhouse, but he was permitted work-release privileges.  On May 4, 2000, appellant left the workhouse on work-release but did not return. 

            On May 9, the district court issued a warrant for appellant’s arrest.  Appellant was arrested on August 3 for possession of a firearm, sale of marijuana, and obstruction of legal process.  The district court revoked appellant’s probation and executed appellant’s 60-month sentence. 

            Appellant then made two written motions: the first motion asked for appointment of counsel; the second asked for a “sentence review,” which was in essence a petition for postconviction relief.  In his petition, appellant contended that (1) the firearm-possession statute (Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(b)) was unconstitutional; (2) his due-process rights had been violated; and (3) Minn. Stat. § 609.11, subd. 5(b) (1998) (minimum sentence for felon in possession of a firearm) was also unconstitutional.  The district court denied appellant’s petition.  This appeal followed. 

            On appeal, appellant seeks to withdraw his March 15, 2000 guilty plea because the factual basis for the guilty plea does not reflect the proper date, location, and facts underlying the offense.  Appellant also claims he is entitled to sentence modification because State v. Royster, 590 N.W.2d 82, 84-85 (Minn. 1999) requires that his guilty plea demonstrate that he had constructive possession of the firearm.


Although we acknowledge that appellant is proceeding pro se, he is still subject to the same procedural and substantive rules governing licensed attorneys.  See State v. Seifert, 423 N.W.2d 368, 372 (Minn. 1988). 

            Appellant challenges the factual basis underpinning his March 15, 2000 guilty plea.  But appellant did not make this argument before the district court and this court “will not decide issues which were not raised before the district court.”  Roby v. State, 547 N.W.2d 354, 357 (Minn. 1996) (citation omitted).  Appellant has waived this argument.[1] 

            Next, appellant argues that he is entitled to a sentence modification because his firearm possession did not increase the risk of violence, and consequently he should not have been subject to the mandatory minimum sentence required by Minn. Stat. § 609.11, subd. 5(b).  Appellant cites Royster, 590 N.W.2d at 82, to support this proposition. 

Appellant also failed to raise this argument before the district court and has therefore waived it for purposes of this appeal.  See Hirt v. State, 309 Minn. 574, 575, 244 N.W.2d 162, 162 (1976) (per curiam) (court refused to consider issues not raised before postconviction court).

Because we conclude appellant has waived both arguments advanced to this court on appeal, we affirm the district court’s denial of his postconviction petition. 


[1] We also note that a review of the record shows that appellant’s guilty plea was supported by an adequate factual basis.  Although the district court initially announced the wrong underlying felony, appellant corrected him on the record.  Furthermore, appellant claims that the court used the wrong date when referring to the underlying controlled-substance felony because the district court referred to appellant’s “1991” convictions.  Although it is undisputed that the district court stated “1991” during the guilty-plea hearing, it is also undisputed that appellant testified that he was convicted in 1992 for fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance.  Therefore, appellant’s arguments are without merit.