This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Brian Warren Briggs, petitioner,
Filed October 25, 2005
Steele County District Court
File No. K9-02-1122
John M. Stuart, State Public
Defender, Benjamin J. Butler, Assistant
Mike Hatch, Attorney General,
Thomas R. Ragatz, Assistant Attorney General, 445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1800,
Douglas L. Ruth, Steele County
Attorney, 303 South Cedar,
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge; Klaphake, Judge; and Willis, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
This is a consolidated appeal from an order granting respondent-appellant Brian Warren Briggs postconviction relief from a 2003 sentence. Appellant-respondent state argues that the postconviction court erred by applying Blakely retroactively to Briggs’s sentence, and Briggs challenges the district court’s order convening a sentencing jury. Because we conclude that the district court abused its discretion by vacating Briggs’s sentence, we reverse.
In April 2003, Briggs pleaded guilty to fifth-degree controlled-substance crime, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 152.025, subds. 2(1), 3 (2002), and to possession of a short-barrel shotgun, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.67, subd. 2 (2002). On June 2, 2003, the district court sentenced Briggs to one year and one day, stayed, on the gun-possession charge and to the mandatory 36-month minimum under Minn. Stat. § 609.11, subd. 5 (2002), for the controlled-substance crime because Briggs possessed a firearm during the commission of the drug offense. Briggs did not directly appeal his convictions or his sentences.
In August 2004, Briggs filed a petition for postconviction relief based on the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Blakely v. Washington, 124 S. Ct. 2531 (2004). The postconviction court granted Briggs’s motion to vacate his 36-month sentence, concluding that Blakely was a watershed rule of criminal procedure that applied retroactively to Briggs’s sentence and that the sentencing scheme in Minn. Stat. § 609.11, subd. 5, is unconstitutional under Blakely. The postconviction court ordered a jury trial to decide the issue of whether an upward departure in sentencing is warranted.
Both the state and Briggs appealed the postconviction court’s decision, and this court consolidated the appeals for review.
D E C I S I O N
petition for postconviction relief is a collateral attack on a judgment which
carries a presumption of regularity and which, therefore, cannot be lightly set
aside.” Pederson v. State, 649 N.W.2d 161, 163 (
argues that (1) Blakely v. Washington,
Apprendi, the United States Supreme
Court held that “[o]ther than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that
increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must
be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt.” 530
argues that Blakely did not announce
a new rule but rather extended the rule announced in Apprendi and that he is, therefore, entitled to benefit from the Blakely court’s interpretation of Apprendi. “[A] court’s decision enunciates a ‘new rule
of law’ when the decision was not ‘dictated’
by precedent existing at the time the defendant’s conviction became
final.” Petschl, 692 N.W.2d at 471 (quoting Teague v. Lane, 489
the alternative, Briggs argues that Blakely
is a “watershed rule” of constitutional criminal procedure that should
apply retroactively to his sentence. A
defendant is entitled to benefit from a new rule of federal constitutional
criminal procedure if his case is pending on direct review when the new rule is
announced. O’Meara v. State, 679 N.W.2d 334, 339 (
watershed rule of criminal procedure is a rule that “alters the understanding
of the basic procedures essential to the fairness of a criminal
conviction.” Petschl, 692 N.W.2d at 471.
The United States Supreme Court has specifically noted that judicial
fact-finding does not seriously diminish the accuracy of a conviction. Schriro
v. Summerlin, 124
Briggs pleaded guilty in April 2003, and he was sentenced on June 2, 2003. Briggs did not directly appeal his convictions
or sentences. A defendant must appeal
his conviction or sentence within 90 days after final judgment or entry of the
order appealed from.
Finally, Briggs also argues that his 36-month sentence
is unconstitutional under Ring,which was decided while his case was
pending on direct appeal. Ring applied Apprendi to
Briggs was sentenced to 36 months for the fifth-degree controlled-substance
crime. The maximum statutory sentence
for a fifth-degree controlled-substance crime was 60 months.
Because Briggs is not entitled to the application of Blakely or Ring to his sentence, the district court erred by vacating Briggs’s sentence. Because Briggs’s 36-month sentence is, therefore, reinstated, we need not consider the other arguments raised by the state or Briggs.