This opinion will be unpublished and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
Filed April 11, 2006
Reversed and remanded
Dakota County District Court
File Nos. K6-00-2669, K3-01-3112
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
James C. Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney, Thomas L. Folie, Special Staff Assistant County Attorney, Dakota County Judicial Center, 1560 Highway 55, Hastings, MN 55033 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge; Lansing, Judge; and Halbrooks, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
is an appeal from a postconviction order resentencing respondent Madanphal
Ramphal to gross-misdemeanor sentences in response to his motion to withdraw
his guilty pleas. The state argues that
the district court erred by concluding that Ramphal’s attorneys’ failure to
investigate Ramphal’s assertion that he was a citizen of both the
Respondent Madanphal Ramphal is a
In March 2002, Ramphal pleaded guilty to the felony of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle. The district court stayed imposition of sentence, placed Ramphal on probation for three years, and required him to serve 75 days in jail as a condition of probation. This offense violated Ramphal’s probation on the burglary charge, and, as a sanction for that violation, the district court imposed a 75-day jail sentence to run concurrently with the sentence on the new offense. The district court did not revoke Ramphal’s probation
In March 2005, Ramphal moved to
withdraw his guilty pleas, arguing that because his attorneys did not independently
investigate his assertion that he was a citizen of the
At the hearing on Ramphal’s motion, the district court stated that “there may be a valid claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.” Without further inquiry and without an evidentiary hearing, the district court indicated it intended to resentence Ramphal on the felony convictions and to impose gross-misdemeanor sentences. Upon Ramphal agreeing to be resentenced, and over the prosecutor’s objection, the district court resentenced Ramphal to concurrent gross-misdemeanor sentences of 360 days in jail, stayed execution of the sentences, and placed him on probation. The district court also directed the clerk to certify both felony convictions as gross misdemeanors. This prosecution appeal from the sentences followed.
D E C I S I O N
The state first argues that the district court abused its discretion by granting Ramphal postconviction relief on his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, the state contends that the district court erred by concluding that counsel’s failure to investigate Ramphal’s assertion that he was a citizen of the United States and Guyana constituted ineffective assistance of counsel. We agree.
“A petitioner seeking postconviction
relief has the burden of establishing, by a fair preponderance of the evidence,
facts that warrant relief.” Gassler v. State, 590 N.W.2d 769, 771 (
To establish a claim of ineffective
assistance of counsel, a party must affirmatively show that counsel’s representation
fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and that, but for counsel’s
performance, the outcome of the proceedings would have been different. Sullivan
v. State, 585 N.W.2d 782, 784 (
The district court concluded that Ramphal’s
attorneys’ failure to investigate his citizenship status likely amounted to
ineffective assistance of counsel. But
Ramphal’s attorneys fully complied with rule 15.01 (10)(d). Ramphal certified in both of his plea petitions that counsel had advised him of the immigration and naturalization consequences of his pleas:
27. I have been told by my attorney and I
understand that if I am not a citizen of the
In addition, at the plea hearing on the burglary charge, Ramphal confirmed orally that he had discussed his citizenship status with counsel:
[Counsel:] And we discussed your citizenship, correct?
[Counsel:] And you are a
[Counsel:] And when did you become a citizen?
[Ramphal:] Two years.
[Counsel:] And so you have dual citizenship between
Defense counsel’s performances did not fall below an objective standard of reasonableness applied to criminal-defense lawyers in representing clients in plea hearings and sentencings.
Ramphal now claims that he was confused about his citizenship status. But he never told his attorneys that he was confused, and nothing in this record would support a reasonable inference that Ramphal was confused about his citizenship status or the consequences relative to that status if he pleaded guilty. Ramphal’s alleged confusion does not bolster his claim of ineffective assistance.
Even if counsel’s performances had fallen below an objective standard of reasonableness, Ramphal has not established that, but for counsel’s failure to investigate his citizenship status, he would have pleaded not guilty instead of guilty. The district court therefore erred by concluding that Ramphal received ineffective assistance of counsel and abused its discretion by granting Ramphal postconviction relief on that basis. Because there was no proper basis for any postconviction relief, the sentences must be vacated, and we remand for imposition of the original sentences.
Because we conclude that Ramphal did not establish facts that warrant postconviction relief, we need not consider the state’s remaining claims regarding the propriety of the sentences the court imposed.
Reversed and remanded.