This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Filed December 28, 2004
Ramsey County District Court
File No. K9-03-2084
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Darrell C. Hill, Assistant County Attorney, 50 W. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 315, St. Paul, MN 55102-1657 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, F. Richard Gallo, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue SE, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge; Willis, Judge; and Crippen, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant Calvin Robinson challenges the district court’s denial of his motion to correct the criminal-history score on his sentencing-guidelines worksheet by excluding a juvenile point and challenges his ensuing sentence. Because the district court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to correct Robinson’s criminal-history score, we affirm.
Robinson was arrested on June 10, 2003, for his participation earlier that day in two separate armed robberies and for fleeing police in a motor vehicle. Robinson pleaded guilty to the three offenses.
The sentencing worksheet used to determine the presumptive disposition for Robinson’s offenses included one juvenile point in his criminal-history score, as the result of two felony convictions of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance. Robinson disputes the inclusion of the first juvenile offense, which occurred on July 26, 1999.
A juvenile petition charged Robinson with a misdemeanor violation on July 26, 1999, for lurking with the intent to buy or sell narcotics, in violation of Minneapolis Code of Ordinances § 385.80. The petition’s probable-cause statement indicated that police officers observed Robinson approach a man and receive a handful of bags containing a substance that appeared to be marijuana. Robinson then approached another man, took money from him, and handed him one of the bags. When the police officers took Robinson into custody, they found two bags of suspected marijuana and $96 in cash in his pocket.
Robinson signed an application to enter a guilty plea, which was filed in September 1999. In the application, the July 26 offense appeared as a fifth-degree controlled substance violation (sale), and Robinson pleaded guilty to that charge. Robinson indicated in the application that he understood that this would be a felony offense if he were charged as an adult. The juvenile court’s dispositional order found that Robinson admitted to felony possession of a controlled substance.
Based on the application and the juvenile petition, the district court here determined that Robinson had two juvenile felony offenses and that a juvenile point was correctly included in his criminal-history score. The district court denied Robinson’s motion to correct his criminal-history score and sentenced him to a total of 84 months. This appeal follows.
Robinson argues that the district court abused its discretion when it failed to correct his criminal-history score. First, he argues that the July 26 offense was not “committed and prosecuted as a felony level offense.” Alternatively, he argues that the juvenile point is inappropriate because the juvenile court failed to make the appropriate findings pursuant to an in-court admission at the time of his plea of guilty to the July 26 offense.
In the district court, the state has the burden of proof to establish support for a criminal-history score. See Hill v. State, 483 N.W.2d 57, 60 (Minn. 1992) (noting that this burden shifts in postconviction proceedings). A district court’s determination of a defendant’s criminal-history score will not be reversed absent an abuse of discretion. State v. Stillday, 646 N.W.2d 557, 561 (Minn. App. 2002).
According to the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines, an “offender is assigned one point for every two offenses committed and prosecuted as a juvenile that are felonies under Minnesota law, provided that: [f]indings were made by the juvenile court pursuant to an admission in court or after trial.” Minn. Sent. Guidelines II.B.4.a.
Robinson argues alternatively that the July 26 offense should not be included in his criminal-history score because the juvenile court did not make appropriate findings “pursuant to an in court admission,” as required by Minn. Sent. Guidelines II.B.4.a. Robinson argues that “[i]t appears obvious” that this requirement “is meant to ensure accuracy of the plea” and that because the court failed to make findings supporting the elements of a felony conviction for possession for sale, the juvenile point is inappropriate. But this is not the “obvious” interpretation of the guidelines’ requirement.
A juvenile court is required to make certain determinations before accepting a juvenile’s guilty plea. Minn. R. Juv. Delinq. P. 8.04, subd. 1. One such determination is that there is a factual basis for the plea. Id., subd. 1(A). But on collateral review, we ordinarily do not review the factual basis of a conviction or adjudication. Cf. State v. Warren, 419 N.W.2d 795, 798 (Minn. 1988) (noting that for purposes of a sentence enhancement, a collateral attack on a conviction is only allowed in unique cases and that a sentencing court normally does not examine the procedures that led to a prior conviction).
Rather, a juvenile court is required to “make a finding within fifteen (15) days of a plea of guilty . . . that the plea has been accepted and allegations in the charging document have been proved.” Minn. R. Juv. Delinq. P. 8.04, subd. 4(A); see also Minn. R. Juv. Delinq. P.13.09 (specifying the finding a court must make after trial).
We conclude that the requirement of “findings pursuant to an admission in court or after trial” does not refer to the adequacy of the guilty plea, but rather to the juvenile court’s finding that the juvenile committed the offense. In State v. Peterson, the Minnesota Supreme Court suggested that the Sentencing Guidelines Commission consider amending the guidelines to refer to “findings pursuant to an admission in court or after trial, rather than adjudications.” 331 N.W.2d 483, 486 (Minn. 1983) (emphasis added) (quotations omitted). This suggestion addressed the confusion caused when a juvenile court did not specifically use the words “adjudicated delinquent” in juvenile proceedings following a previous adjudication of delinquency because of the policy that a juvenile “once adjudicated, [is] always adjudicated.” Id. at 485. Because the sentencing guidelines required an “adjudication,” if that specific language was not used, it was unclear if a finding by a juvenile court that a juvenile committed felony-type behavior could be used to calculate a juvenile point. Id. This suggested change was made by the guidelines commission, and that is how the guidelines currently read. Minn. Sent. Guidelines II.B.4.a. Further, similar language is used in Minn. Stat. § 260B.235, subd. 6, requiring a “third or subsequent finding by the court pursuant to an admission in court or after trial that a child has committed a juvenile alcohol or controlled substance offense” before a juvenile can be ordered to participate in inpatient chemical-dependency treatment. In re Welfare of J.R.M., 653 N.W.2d 207, 211 (Minn. App. 2002) (emphasis added). “Finding” in this phrase refers to a decision that the juvenile committed the offense.
Here, the juvenile court found that Robinson had committed a felony-level offense for possessing a controlled substance for sale. Therefore, the district court here did not abuse its discretion by concluding that the July 26 offense counted toward a juvenile point in Robinson’s criminal-history score. See Minn. Sent. Guidelines II.B.4.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.