This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Mark Tracy Seaborn, petitioner,
Filed September 3, 2002
Gordon W. Shumaker, Judge
Rice County District Court
File No. C0011209
Bradford W. Colbert, L.A.M.P., Room 254, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105 (for appellant)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Kari J. Ferguson, Mark B. Levinger, Assistant Attorneys General, 1100 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge,Shumaker, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.
GORDON W. SHUMAKER, Judge
Appellant Mark Tracy Seaborn challenges the order denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Appellant argues that after he was terminated from the Challenge Incarceration Program he was entitled to good-time credit for the time he was in the program because Minn. Stat. § 244.171 (2000) provides for good-time credit, and because the parties agreed, when appellant waived his right to a revocation hearing, that he would receive good-time credit. We affirm.
On April 20, 1999, appellant was sentenced to an executed prison term of 44 months, with credit for 144 days served, following his plea of guilty to the charge of receiving stolen goods. Appellant committed this offense in October 1998.
In May 1999, Tim Gorr, the program director of Phase I of the Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP), determined that appellant met the criteria for acceptance into CIP. CIP is a three-phase community-integration program that includes intensive treatment, education and work programs, intensive supervision and surveillance, random drug and alcohol testing, and a high level of offender accountability. Because successful completion of the program enables the offender to have a longer period of supervised release and a shorter term of imprisonment than he would have were he not to participate, CIP requires the offender to agree to adhere to strict rules and the imposition of consequences for program violations.
Gorr sent appellant a letter explaining the CIP requirements. Appellant signed the letter, indicating that he had read and understood it, including the portion pertaining to good-time credit:
I understand that as a participant in the Challenge Incarceration Program, I will not earn good time during Phases I, II and III of the Program. I understand that if my Challenge Incarceration Program status is terminated, I will be returned to a Minnesota Correctional Facility for a period of time equal to my original term of imprisonment minus earned good time if any, but in no case for longer than the time remaining in my original sentence. “Original term of imprisonment” means a time period equal to two-thirds of the sentence originally executed by the sentencing court, minus jail credit, if any. I agree to the above conditions. I acknowledge that I have received orientation regarding the Challenge Incarceration Program and fully understand the requirements.
(Emphasis added). On June 3, 1999, appellant signed an “Order Granting Challenge Incarceration Program Phase I,” in which he agreed to abide by the program’s rules and requirements, including the consequences for program violations:
I understand and agree that violation of any of the rules of the facility may constitute grounds for termination of my CIP status and return to a Minnesota Correctional Facility, and that if my CIP status is terminated the time served in CIP will not be credited toward my original term of imprisonment.
(Emphasis added). This agreement reiterated: “I understand that as a participant in CIP, that I will not earn good time during Phases I, II and III of the program.” On June 8, 1999, appellant began his participation in CIP Phase I.
On December 1, 1999, appellant signed an “Order Granting Challenge Incarceration Program Phase II.” In this agreement, appellant acknowledged that the following consequence could be imposed if he was terminated from the program:
I agree that any violation of these terms and conditions could result in my termination from the program. I further understand that if removed from the Challenge Incarceration Program, I shall be imprisoned for a period equal to my original term of imprisonment.
On December 3, 1999, appellant graduated from CIP Phase I into Phase II. During Phase II, the offender is allowed to reside in the community under intensive supervision and is expected to meet the requirements of the program and any other special conditions.
In March 2000, appellant was arrested. On June 5, 2000, appellant pleaded guilty to felony receiving stolen goods. On July 11, 2000, appellant was sentenced to a prison term of 48 months and was given 123 days of jail credit. This sentence was to be served consecutively to the sentence imposed in April 1999.
On July 24, 2000, appellant was served with the notice of CIP violation and right to hearing. Appellant admitted that his conviction of the new felony violated a CIP condition. He waived his right to a CIP revocation hearing and his CIP status was revoked. Because of his termination from CIP, appellant’s incarceration period for his April 1999 sentence was extended by 277 days, the amount of time he spent in CIP.
On July 25, 2001, appellant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus; his attorney later filed an amended petition. On September 20, 2001, a telephone conference was held on appellant’s amended petition for writ of habeas corpus. The district court denied appellant’s petition and his request for an evidentiary hearing. This appeal followed.
D E C I S I O N
In reviewing an order denying a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, this court gives “great weight” to the district court’s findings and “will uphold the findings if they are reasonably supported by the evidence.” Northwest v. LaFleur, 583 N.W.2d 589, 591 (Minn. App. 1998) (citations omitted), review denied (Minn. Nov. 17, 1998). We review questions of law de novo. State ex rel. McMaster v. Benson, 495 N.W.2d 613, 614 (Minn. App. 1993), review denied (Minn. Mar. 11, 1993).
1. Good-Time Credit
Appellant argues that he is entitled to good-time credit following his termination from CIP for two reasons. He first argues that Minn. Stat. § 244.171, subd. 4 (2000), specifically provides that offenders should be credited with good time if terminated from CIP. Appellant’s reliance on Minn. Stat. § 244.171, subd. 4, is misplaced. Minn. Stat. § 244.171 (2000) provides, in part:
Subd. 3. Good time not available. An offender in the challenge incarceration program whose crime was committed before August 1, 1993, does not earn good time during phases I and II of the program, notwithstanding section 244.04.
Subd. 4. Sanctions. The commissioner shall impose severe and meaningful sanctions for violating the conditions of the challenge incarceration program. The commissioner shall remove an offender from the challenge incarceration program if the offender:
(1) commits a material violation of or repeatedly fails to follow the rules of the program;
(2) commits any misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony offense; or
(3) presents a risk to the public, based on the offender’s behavior, attitude, or abuse of alcohol or controlled substances. The removal of an offender from the challenge incarceration program is governed by the procedures in the commissioner’s rules adopted under section 244.05, subdivision 2.
An offender who is removed from the challenge incarceration program shall be imprisoned for a time period equal to the offender’s term of imprisonment, minus earned good time if any, but in no case for longer than the time remaining in the offender’s sentence. “Term of imprisonment” means a time period equal to two-thirds of the sentence originally executed by the sentencing court, minus jail credit, if any.
The CIP statute provides that an offender removed from the program is to be reimprisoned for a time period equal to his term of imprisonment, “minus earned good time if any.” Minn. Stat. § 244.171, subd. 4. The calculation of prison time is not affected by the time spent in CIP if the offender is terminated from the program. Appellant is not entitled to “good time,” or any reduction in sentence, for his time spent in CIP. See Minn. Stat. § 244.171, subd. 3 (providing that person in CIP does not earn “good time” during Phases I and II of the program).
Appellant argues that even if Minn. Stat. § 244.171, subd. 4, does not entitle him to good-time credit, that he is still entitled to it because the parties agreed that he would be allowed to earn good time. Appellant argues that in return for his waiver of his right to a revocation hearing, the department of corrections agreed that he would be allowed to earn good time. Appellant cites his CIP Revocation Summary for support. This was a department of corrections form document that provided the following disposition: “Revoke CIP Program Status. Return for original term of Imprisonment, less good time earned, and time served prior to entering program.”
The language “minus earned good time if any” and “less good time earned,” as used in the CIP statutes and the CIP documents signed by appellant, is used to clarify that offenders who were sentenced before August 1, 1993, but who are terminated from CIP, receive credit for the “good time” they earned prior to their participation in CIP. Only those who committed their crimes before August 1, 1993, are entitled to receive “good time.” Minn. Stat. § 244.04, subd. 3. Appellant is not entitled to “good time” for his April 1999 sentence because he committed his crime in October 1998.
It would have been helpful if the department of corrections CIP Revocation Summary form had been clearer. However, when we consider the entire context of what appellant was told and what he agreed to, we conclude he knew that he would not receive good-time credit. Accordingly, the district court was correct in concluding that appellant is not entitled to “good time,” or any reduction in sentence, for the time he spent in the CIP program.
2. Separation of Powers
Appellant argues that by not giving him credit for the six months he was incarcerated during Phase I of CIP, respondent is violating the separation-of-powers doctrine by infringing on the original jurisdiction of the sentencing court. Appellant argues that Minn. Stat. § 244.171 effectively modifies his sentence, which only the court is empowered to do as an inherent part of its judicial function. Appellant cites State v. Schwartz, 628 N.W.2d 134, 140 (Minn. 2001), for support. But in Schwartz, the Minnesota Supreme Court found that the broad authority of the commissioner of corrections under Minn. Stat. § 243.05 (2000) and Minn. Stat. § 609.109, subd. 7 (2000), to administer and revoke supervised and conditional release and to re-incarcerate individuals does not violate the separation-of-powers provision of the Minnesota Constitution because those laws operate within the court’s sentencing authority and do not impede judicial authority. Schwartz, 628 N.W.2d at 140-41. If the commissioner’s statutory authority to revoke supervised and conditional release and to re-incarcerate offenders does not violate the separation-of-powers doctrine, it follows that the similar statutory authority to revoke CIP status and to re-incarcerate the offender to serve the original term of imprisonment does not violate the separation-of-powers doctrine. The district court correctly concluded that Minn. Stat. § 244.171 does not violate the separation-of-powers provision of the Minnesota Constitution.
 Minn. Stat. § 244.04 (2000) provides:
Subdivision 1. Reduction of sentence; inmates sentenced for crimes committed before 1993. [T]he term of imprisonment of any inmate sentenced to a presumptive fixed sentence after May 1, 1980, and whose crime was committed before August 1, 1993, shall be reduced in duration by one day for each two days during which the inmate violates none of the disciplinary offense rules promulgated by the commissioner.
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Subd. 3. Provisions not applicable to certain inmates. The provisions of this section do not apply to an inmate serving a mandatory life sentence or to persons whose crimes were committed on or after August 1, 1993.