This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Matthew Jon Wien, petitioner,
State of Minnesota,
Filed February 14, 2006
Wilkin County District Court
File No. K7-02-20
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Lydia Villalva Lijó, Assistant Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Kimberly Parker, Assistant Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Timothy E.J. Fox, Wilkin County Attorney, City Hall, P.O. Box 214, Breckenridge, MN 56520 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Dietzen, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Matthew Jon Wien appeals from an order denying his postconviction petition,
challenging his conviction and sentence for conspiracy to commit first-degree
controlled substance crime. He argues
that (1) his guilty plea was not voluntary; and (2) the fine imposed on him
violated the Excessive Fines Clauses of the
D E C I S I O N
decisions of a postconviction court will not be disturbed unless the court
abused its discretion.” Dukes v. State, 621 N.W.2d 246, 251 (
Appellant argues that the postconviction court abused its discretion by refusing to allow appellant to withdraw his guilty plea. Appellant contends that because the state induced his plea by promising not to seek an upward departure under the career offender statute when appellant did not qualify as a career offender, his plea was not voluntary. We disagree.
defendants do not have an absolute right to withdraw a guilty plea, but 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.” Alanis v. State, 583 N.W.2d 573, 577 (Minn.
1998) (quotations omitted); see also
Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 1. A manifest
injustice occurs if a guilty plea is not accurate, voluntary, and
intelligent. Alanis, 583 N.W.2d at 577.
“The accuracy requirement protects the defendant from pleading guilty to
a more serious offense than he or she could be properly convicted of at
the postconviction court determined that appellant “failed to satisfy his
burden of proof that his plea was not knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily
given.” See Minn. Stat. § 590.04, subd. 3 (2000) (stating that in a
postconviction proceeding, the petitioner has the burden of establishing
alleged facts by a fair preponderance of the evidence); State v. Christopherson, 644 N.W.2d 507, 510 (Minn. App. 2002)
(stating that the burden is on the defendant to demonstrate that refusal to
allow withdrawal results in a manifest injustice), review denied (
First, although appellant’s trial attorney briefly discussed the career offender statute with appellant, neither the prosecutor nor appellant’s trial attorney told appellant that he would qualify as a career offender. Second, appellant’s trial attorney testified that he never independently determined whether appellant qualified as a career offender because he did not find it “terribly relevant” to the plea agreement. Instead, the attorney encouraged appellant to accept the plea agreement because he did not “see a defense” and a 13-month downward departure was significant. As a result, the attorney spent little time discussing the career offender statute with appellant. Third, although appellant testified at the postconviction hearing that his only reason for pleading guilty was to prevent the court from sentencing him as a career offender, the record indicates that appellant’s reasons for accepting the plea agreement changed each time he appeared in court.
Because it was not clearly erroneous for the postconviction court to find that the career offender provision of the plea agreement was ancillary to its primary purpose of obtaining a 13-month downward departure, we conclude that the postconviction court did not abuse its discretion by concluding that appellant’s plea was “knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily given.”
Whether an imposed
fine violates the Excessive Fines Clauses is a legal question that this court
reviews de novo. State v. Rewitzer, 617 N.W.2d 407, 412 (
appellant pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree controlled
substance crime in violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 152.021, subds. 2a, 3, 152.096,
subd. 1 (2000). Thus, the district court
could have sentenced appellant to imprisonment for up to 30 years, imposed a
fine of up to $1,000,000, or both.
(1) the gravity of the offense and the harshness of the penalty, (2) comparison of the contested fine with fines imposed for the commission of other crimes in the same jurisdiction, and (3) comparison of the contested fine with fines imposed for commission of the same crime in other jurisdictions.
1. Gravity of Offense
determining whether a fine is excessive under the Excessive Fines Clauses, we
first evaluate the gravity of the offense and the harshness of the
penalty. Rewitzer, 617 N.W.2d at 414.
Appellant argues that the fine is excessive because “[t]he illegal
activity was . . . limited in scope, duration and impact.” But appellant pleaded guilty to a felony
controlled substance offense. And the
next argues that the fine is excessive because appellant is indigent. But “[i]n
2. Comparison to Other
Next, we compare
appellant’s fines with the fines that courts may impose for the commission of
other crimes in
2000 Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines classify first-degree controlled substance
crimes as a level-eight offense.
3. Comparison to Other Jurisdictions
Finally, we compare appellant’s fines with the fines imposed for the commission of the same crime in other jurisdictions. Rewitzer, 617 N.W.2d at 415. We conclude that the fine imposed here is within the range for a similar federal offense. In addition, a survey of other state law indicates that appellant’s fine is not grossly disproportionate to other states’ penalties. Thus, we conclude that under the facts of this case, the district court did not impose an unconstitutionally excessive fine.
 The 2000 Sentencing Guidelines apply because appellant committed his offense from July through November of 2001.