This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






Darrell Eugene Evans, petitioner,





State of Minnesota,



Filed August 13, 2002


Parker, Judge*


Ramsey County District Court

File No. K796748


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Davi E. Axelson, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55414 (for appellant)


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


Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Mark Nathan Lystig, Assistant County Attorney, 50 Kellogg Boulevard West, Suite 315, St. Paul, Minnesota 55102 (for respondent)



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

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


Darrell Eugene Evans appeals from an order denying his postconviction petition challenging his 1996 guilty plea to second-degree criminal sexual conduct.  Appellant Evans argues that a manifest injustice requires that he be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea because he was not told he would have to serve a five-year conditional release term, and that the district court clearly erred in ruling that he was presumed to know the law relating to imposition of conditional release terms.  We affirm.


After being charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct, Darrell Eugene Evans entered a guilty plea with the understanding that his sentence would be stayed, but that he would be required to serve nine months in the county workhouse.  At the plea hearing, the mandatory five-year conditional release term required by Minn. Stat. § 609.346, subd. 5 (1994) (now codified at Minn. Stat. § 609.109, subd. 7 (2000)), was not discussed, but Evans’s attorney noted he would ask for a stay of imposition and a cap on the length of probation.

In May 1996, Evans was sentenced.  At sentencing, Evans requested a stay of imposition and the state asked for a stay of execution, but opposed a stay of imposition.  The court imposed a 21-month sentence, but stayed execution of the sentence and placed Evans on probation for 25 years subject to certain conditions, including that he serve the agreed-upon nine months in the workhouse.  The mandatory five-year conditional release term was not discussed.

In February 1998, Evans’s probation was revoked, and he was committed to the Commissioner of Corrections for the 21-month sentence, reduced by the nine months he spent in the workhouse.  The five-year conditional release term was not discussed but was included in the warrant of commitment.

In November 2001, Evans filed a postconviction motion challenging the addition of the conditional release term and requesting either that the term be vacated or that he be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea because he did not know about the conditional release term when he pled guilty.  The district court denied both motions, finding that the conditional release term could not be vacated because it was statutorily mandated, and that Evans could not withdraw his plea because he was presumed to know the law and because the plea agreement contained no upper limit on the possible sentence.  This appeal followed.


Evans argues that his plea was unknowing and therefore that the district court erred in denying his postconviction motion.  On appeal in postconviction proceedings, this court limits its review to determining whether sufficient evidence exists to sustain the postconviction court’s findings.  Perkins v. State, 559 N.W.2d 678, 685 (Minn. 1997).  “The decisions of a postconviction court will not be disturbed unless the court abused its discretion.”  Dukes v. State, 621 N.W.2d 246, 251 (Minn. 2001) (citation omitted).

A criminal defendant has no absolute right to withdraw a guilty plea.  Shorter v. State, 511 N.W.2d 743, 746 (Minn. 1994).  A defendant may withdraw a guilty plea after sentencing “upon a timely motion and proof to the satisfaction of the court that withdrawal of the plea is necessary to correct a manifest injustice.”  Perkins, 559 N.W.2d at 685 (citation and quotation omitted).  A manifest injustice occurs if a guilty plea is not “accurate, voluntary, and intelligent (i.e., knowingly and understandingly made).”  Id. at 688.

The district court found that, under State v. Calmes, 632 N.W.2d 641 (Minn. 2001), Evans’s plea was knowingly made because “citizens are presumed to know the law.”  Although we do not agree that Calmes applies in this case,[1] we nevertheless arrive at the same conclusion, i.e., that Evans’s plea was not given unknowingly.

In State v. Brown, 606 N.W.2d 670 (Minn. 2000), the supreme court concluded that a defendant’s sentence was not unknowing because the defendant understood both at the plea hearing and at sentencing that he risked an executed sentence longer than the sentence he actually received after correction to include the mandatory conditional release term.  See id. at 675 n.6.  Here, the plea agreement called for a specific amount of workhouse time but contained no agreement on the length of the executed sentence.  The statutory maximum sentence for this crime was 25 years, and Evans was told this fact.  Therefore, as in Brown, the sentence Evans received—even with the addition of the conditional release term—was less than the maximum possible sentence that he might have received pursuant to his plea agreement.  This issue has recently come before this court in the context of whether imposition of the conditional release term violated a similar plea agreement.  In State v. Christopherson, 644 N.W.2d 507 (Minn. App. 2002), we concluded that where there was no limitation on the amount of prison time the defendant would serve, imposition of the conditional release term did not violate the terms of the plea agreement.  Id. at 511-12.  We follow Christopherson and consider it to be dispositive here.

The fact that Evans’s actual sentence was significantly less than the 25 years he might have received is of no import.  The question of whether the plea was valid is assessed at the time of the plea, not at sentencing.  See State v. Nace, 308 Minn. 170, 170-71, 241 N.W.2d 101, 102 (1976) (adequacy of record for plea assessed at time of plea).



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


[1]  Unlike the defendant in Calmes, Evans pled guilty before the supreme court issued two cases holding that the conditional release term at issue here was mandatory.  See State v. Calmes, 632 N.W.2d at 648 n.4 (relying on the fact that not only did Calmes’s plea come after the supreme court’s opinions were issued, but he had actual knowledge of those opinions when he pled guilty).