This opinion will be unpublished and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 18, 2006
Stearns County District Court
File No. K3-02-3889
Mike Hatch, Attorney General,
Janelle Kendall, Stearns County Attorney, Shan C. Wang, Assistant County Attorney, 705 Courthouse Square, Administration Center – Room 448, St. Cloud, MN 56303 (for respondent)
John Stuart, State Public
Defender, Cathryn Middlebrook, Assistant Public Defender,
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Stoneburner, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
On remand for redetermination of a
probation revocation, following State v.
Modtland,695 N.W.2d 602 (
F A C T S
Angel Carrera-Valdez pleaded guilty in October 2002 to a third-degree controlled substance crime. The district court sentenced him in April 2003 to the presumptive guidelines sentence of fifty-one months in prison but departed downward dispositionally by staying the sentence for up to twenty years on specific probationary conditions. These conditions included paying restitution and fines, following all recommendations of his chemical-dependency treatment, and submitting to random testing to ensure abstinence from alcohol and mood-altering substances. The probation also implicitly included the general conditions that he regularly report to a designated probation officer and that he commit no additional violations of the law.
In July 2003 police arrested Carrera-Valdez for receiving stolen property. After he pleaded guilty to the ensuing felony charge in November 2003, the state alleged that he had violated his probation by failing to remain law abiding, complete chemical-dependency treatment, comply with alcohol-testing requirements, pay court-ordered fines and restitution, and maintain contact with his probation officer.
Following a probation-violation hearing, the district court found by clear and convincing evidence that Carrera-Valdez had failed to remain law abiding when he committed the July 2003 felony. The court further found that his probation violations were not excused by his intervening incarceration. At the probation-violation sentencing hearing, the state argued that committing the July 2003 felony, absconding from probationary supervision, and failing to complete chemical-dependency treatment demonstrated that Carrera-Valdez was a significant public-safety risk. The district court revoked the stay of execution and committed Carrera-Valdez to the commissioner of corrections for fifty-one months. The record contains no specific findings on whether the need for confinement outweighed the policies favoring probation.
Carrera-Valdez appealed his probation violation, and we affirmed
in an unpublished opinion. State v. Carrera-Valdez, No. A04-630,
2004 WL 2661483 (
On the record at the resentencing hearing, the district court restated its earlier findings that Carrera-Valdez had violated the conditions of his probation. Specifically, the district court stated that Carrera-Valdez had failed to remain law abiding, complete chemical-dependency treatment, maintain contact with his designated probation agent, comply with court-ordered chemical testing, and pay court-ordered fines, surcharges, and restitution. The district court recognized that the failure to make court-ordered payments might be excused by financial inability but restated its earlier finding that some of the violations were not excusable or unintentional. Finally, the district court weighed the factors supporting the need for confinement against the policies favoring probation and reinstated the previous fifty-one-month executed sentence. Carrera-Valdez appeals the reinstatement of his sentence, contending that the decision is an abuse of discretion. In a supplemental pro se brief, he challenges the findings supporting the revocation.
D E C I S I O N
To revoke probation and execute an
imposed sentence, the district court must (1) designate the specific
condition or conditions that the defendant has violated, (2) find that the
violation was intentional or inexcusable, and (3) determine that the need for
confinement outweighs the policies favoring probation. State v.
At the resentencing hearing, the district court identified the specific conditions that Carrera-Valdez violated. The court discussed Carrera-Valdez’s commission of a felony and his failure to complete chemical-dependency treatment, comply with court-ordered chemical testing, maintain contact with his probation agent, and make court-ordered payments. Although the district court acknowledged that Carrera-Valdez’s limited financial resources might excuse his failure to make the court-ordered payments it concluded that some of his violations, particularly the intervening felony, were neither excusable or unintentional. In evaluating whether the need for confinement outweighed the policies favoring probation, the district court heard argument from both the state and the defense.
The district court rejected Carrera-Valdez’s argument that the proposed disposition of a stayed sentence on his July 2003 felony demonstrated that incarceration was unnecessary to protect public safety. Instead, the district court reasoned that this intervening felony demonstrated that it had “an obligation to protect the public from . . . additional criminal offenses.” The court emphasized that Carrera-Valdez “remains untreated for the chemical dependency issues” that formed the basis for staying execution of the original prison sentence in April 2003. And, finally, the district court commended Carrera-Valdez for his positive development and participation in programs, but noted that he progressed only when closely supervised in a confined setting. For these reasons the district court concluded that the need for confinement outweighed the policies favoring probation.
We see no abuse of discretion in the district court’s findings and conclusions on remand. The district court restated the specific probationary violations, identified the violations that were intentional and inexcusable, and balanced Carrera-Valdez’s interest in freedom with the state’s interest in ensuring his rehabilitation and protecting public safety. See id. (stating required elements for consideration in probation-revocation hearings). Courts have consistently emphasized the primacy of conditions necessary to achieve rehabilitation when determining the appropriate response to a probation violation. See id. at 607 (recognizing state’s interest in ensuring rehabilitation); see also Austin, 295 N.W.2d at 251 (sanctioning revocation when district court finds, on basis of intervening conduct, that offender is in need of correctional treatment, which can most effectively be provided during confinement).
a pro se supplemental brief, Carrera-Valdez challenges the district court’s
findings that he violated the conditions of his probation and argues alternatively
that any violations were excusable. The
district court made findings on the record at the first probation-revocation
hearing on Carrera-Valdez’s violation of his probationary conditions and considered
whether the violations were unintentional or excusable. These determinations were affirmed in the first
appeal to this court. Carrera-Valdez, 2004 WL 2661483 at
*2. Consequently, these issues are not
subject to reconsideration on remand to address the failure to make
on-the-record findings of whether the need for confinement outweighed the
policies favoring probation. See Janssen v. Best & Flanagan, LLP,
704 N.W.2d 759, 763 (