This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).






Jeffrey Scot Springer, petitioner,





State of Minnesota,



Filed November 1, 2005


Willis, Judge


Pine County District Court

File No. K2-02-123


Jeffrey Scot Springer, #210860, 1101 Linden Lane, Faribault, MN 55021 (pro se appellant)


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN  55101-2134; and


John K. Carlson, Pine County Attorney, Damien F. Toven, Assistant County Attorney, 315 Main Street South, Suite 8, Pine City, MN  55063 (for respondent)


            Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge; Randall, Judge; and Willis, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


In this appeal from a conviction of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, appellant argues that he was denied effective assistance of counsel and that the district court, therefore, erred by denying his petition for postconviction relief.  Because appellant did not demonstrate that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, we affirm.


Appellant Jeffrey Scot Springer attempted to hire R.W. to kill Springer’s wife, claiming that she was in pain from a work injury and that he wanted to end her suffering.  R.W. informed the police, and Springer was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.175, subd. 2 (2002), and attempted first-degree murder, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.17, subds. 1, 4 (2002). 

On January 13, 2003, Springer entered an Alford plea to the charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and the attempted-murder charge was dismissed.  After finding mitigating factors, the district court granted Springer’s request for a downward departure and sentenced him to 135 months in prison. 

Springer petitioned pro se for postconviction relief, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel in that he entered his plea under duress because his attorneys did not adequately prepare for trial and there were several other instances of attorney misconduct.  After an evidentiary hearing on Springer’s petition, the postconviction court denied relief, and Springer appeals.


“A 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 (Minn. 2002).  We review de novo decisions by the postconviction court concerning claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. 
Opsahl v. State, 677 N.W.2d 414, 420 (Minn. 2004).

Springer was represented by two attorneys before and at his plea hearing.  He argues that his representation was ineffective because his attorneys failed to spend sufficient time with him preparing for trial, discussed his case with him in front of the prosecutor, failed to include certain witnesses on the witness list, and failed to move for a change of venue.  He implies that he would not have pleaded guilty had his attorneys not made these errors.

An appellant alleging ineffective assistance must show that his attorney’s conduct “‘fell below an objective standard of reasonableness’” and that but for his attorney’s errors, there is a reasonable probability the result of the proceeding would have been different. Gates v. State, 398 N.W.2d 558, 561 (Minn. 1987) (quoting Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 688, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 2064 (1984)).  To satisfy the second requirement in the context of a guilty plea, “the defendant must show that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s errors, he would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial.”  Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52, 59, 106 S. Ct. 366, 370 (1985); accord Kaiser v. State, 621 N.W.2d 49, 54 (Minn. App. 2001), aff’d on other grounds, 641 N.W.2d 900 (Minn. 2002).

At the hearing on Springer’s petition, the postconviction court observed that Springer’s attorneys hired a private investigator, visited him in jail several times, and explained the effect of having certain witnesses testify, concluding that Springer’s attorneys “went over and above for [him].”  The postconviction court also noted that at the plea hearing, one of Springer’s attorneys and the district court thoroughly questioned Springer about the adequacy of his representation, his understanding of his case, and the effect of entering an Alford plea.  Finally, the postconviction court concluded that Springer’s plea was entered without coercion or duress.

            There is no record evidence supporting Springer’s claims of ineffective representation and attorney misconduct.  And his argument that but for his attorneys’ ineffective representation, he would not have entered the Alford plea is contradicted by his own testimony.  At the plea hearing, Springer testified that (1) he met with his attorneys numerous times, (2) he fully informed his attorneys of the facts of the case, (3) his attorneys informed him of his constitutional rights and his possible defenses, and (4) his attorneys fully and zealously advocated on his behalf.  Springer also testified that he understood that by entering the Alford plea, he waived his right to a trial, to call witnesses, and to challenge the state’s evidence.  Because Springer has failed to demonstrate that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, we conclude that the postconviction court did not err by denying relief.