This opinion will be unpublished and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
Socorro Pedro Martinez, petitioner,
Filed June 13, 2006
Reversed and remanded
McLeod County District Court
File No. K1-03-788
John M. Stuart, State Public
Defender, Cathryn Middlebrook, Assistant Public Defender,
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800
Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota St., St. Paul,
Michael K. Junge, McLeod County Attorney, Mark A. Metz, Assistant County Attorney, 830 East 11th Street, Suite 112, Glencoe, MN 55336 (for respondent);
Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Lansing, Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
The district court denied appellant Socorro Pedro Martinez’s postconviction petition challenging his 2003 conviction of first-degree controlled-substance offense. Because we conclude that a postconviction hearing is required on appellant’s claim that his guilty plea was not valid, we reverse and remand.
Appellant was charged with first-degree controlled-substance offense, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 152.021, subd. 1(1) (2002) (sale of cocaine), following two controlled buys. After the second buy, police obtained a search warrant for appellant’s residence, where they found a number of incriminating items.
Appellant moved to suppress the evidence seized in the search, but the district court denied the motion. On the scheduled trial date, appellant entered a “straight” guilty plea to the charge of first-degree controlled-substance offense, sale of cocaine. The plea agreement provided that appellant would be sentenced to 81 months, the lower end of the presumptive range, and the district court would write a letter to the Department of Corrections (DOC) stating it had no objection to appellant entering the Challenge Incarceration Program, known as “boot camp.” Appellant was to waive his right to a presentence investigation (PSI).
Appellant’s guilty plea was entered by means of a rule 15 petition and by inquiry at the plea hearing. The rule 15 petition included a handwritten note summarizing the plea agreement. It also included the typewritten paragraph provided in the form stating that “[m]y attorney has told me and I understand that if I am not a citizen of the United States this plea of guilty may result in deportation” or other immigration consequences.
At the plea hearing, defense counsel explained that the attorneys had met in chambers with the court and discussed a disposition. Under the agreement reached, the court would be willing to write a letter on appellant’s behalf regarding his admission into “boot camp” (Challenge Incarceration Program). Appellant was to waive his right to a PSI, and the attorneys believed that appellant had no criminal-history points.
Defense counsel questioned appellant on the record, first explaining that they had talked in chambers about various programs available to appellant. Appellant agreed that he had been told that the judge would write a letter to the DOC stating that the judge “[has] no objection to [his] participating in boot camp.” The following exchange occurred during defense counsel’s questioning of appellant:
Q. And I talked with you not only about boot camp, but also about work release.
Q. And I further told you that my office contacted the Department of Corrections regarding the criteria or eligibility for boot camp and work release.
Q. But in the end, it’s the Department of Corrections that decides whether or not you qualify for boot camp, work release or any other program available to you.
The district court imposed sentence under the agreement, after appellant personally waived his right to a PSI. The Immigration and Naturalization Service issued a detainer on December 18, 2003, which made appellant ineligible for work release and boot camp.
In May 2005, appellant filed a postconviction petition, seeking to withdraw his guilty plea. Appellant claimed that his plea was not intelligently entered because he had been told by his attorney that he would be eligible for work release within five days after sentencing and that he would also be eligible for boot camp.
support of the petition, appellant presented an affidavit stating that his
attorney had told him he would receive a 54-month sentence, not an 81-month sentence,
and that he “expressed concern” to his attorney about not being accepted into
work release or boot camp because he was not a
The district court issued an order denying the petition, concluding that appellant was informed that the DOC, not the court, determined his eligibility for all programs and that appellant received the sentence that was promised him. The court concluded that “[appellant’s] inaccurate belief that entry into the boot camp program flowed automatically from his guilty plea does not convert a collateral consequence into a direct consequence.” This appeal follows.
court reviews a postconviction court’s findings to determine whether there is
sufficient evidence in the record to support them. Dukes
v. State, 621 N.W.2d 246, 251 (
reviewing court will reverse the district court’s determination of whether to
permit withdrawal of a guilty plea only if the district court abused its
discretion. Barragan v. State, 583 N.W.2d 571, 572 (
Appellant contends that his guilty plea was not intelligently entered because his counsel misinformed him regarding his eligibility for the boot-camp program as well as for work release.
requirement of an intelligent plea ensures that “the defendant understands the
charges, his or her rights under the law, and the consequences of pleading
It is well settled that denial of admission into the boot-camp program is not a direct consequence of a guilty plea, particularly when the denial is based on the offender’s immigration status. Alanis, 583 N.W.2d at 579. Appellant, however, does not claim merely that he was ignorant of his eligibility for boot camp and work release. He claims that his attorney actively misinformed him as to his eligibility. Defense counsel elicited appellant’s agreement that counsel “further told [him] that [counsel’s] office contacted the [DOC] regarding the criteria [for] eligibility for boot camp and work release.” Counsel then did not state the result of that inquiry, but instead reminded appellant that the DOC makes the decision on eligibility for those programs. That fact, however, does not mean that appellant received no off-the-record assurances originating with the DOC and passed on to him by his attorney.
The state argues that appellant had nothing more than an “unwarranted hope” that he would be accepted into work release and boot camp. The state also argues that nothing in the record supports appellant’s claim that he was misinformed. The state points to statements in the plea transcript that the DOC alone determined eligibility and that there were no other promises or inducements made to get appellant to plead guilty. But as noted above, defense counsel mentioned on the record his office’s contact with the DOC regarding appellant’s eligibility. That question by counsel does not seem to have served any purpose other than to remind appellant of additional information, which counsel did not disclose on the record but which appellant would have known.
appellant merely had an unwarranted hope that he would be admitted into work
release and boot camp, his exclusion from those programs would not provide
grounds for withdrawing the plea. See State v. Ford, 397 N.W.2d 875, 883 (
We conclude that the guilty-plea record raises the possibility of off-the-record assurances having been made, and neither that record nor the postconviction record negates that possibility. Appellant, therefore, should be allowed to clarify the record in a postconviction evidentiary hearing. The postconviction statute provides that a hearing should be granted “[u]nless the petition and the files and records of the proceeding conclusively show that the petitioner is entitled to no relief[.]” Minn. Stat. § 590.04, subd. 1 (2004). The statute presumes that an evidentiary hearing should be held in most cases. Because the guilty-plea transcript is ambiguous regarding whether appellant was assured off the record by his attorney that he was eligible for boot camp and work release, that presumption was not rebutted here. Appellant is entitled to a hearing on his claim that he was actively misinformed.
We reverse the postconviction court’s order and remand for an evidentiary hearing.
Reversed and remanded.