This opinion will be unpublished and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
ex rel. Mark Allen Wieland, petitioner,
David Crist, Warden
Filed September 19, 2006
Anoka County District Court
File No. C9-05-7824
Greg J. Rebeau,
Brent D. Wartner, Associate Legal Counsel, 1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55108 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Worke, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
On appeal from the denial of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging the denial of appellant’s parole for his 1978 life sentence for first-degree murder, appellant argues that the Commissioner of Corrections failed to follow applicable rules in denying his release, imposed impossible conditions on his release, and ignored expert-opinion testimony favoring his release. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
Appellant Mark Allen Wieland
petition for a writ of habeas corpus after the Commissioner of Corrections continued
his incarceration. A writ
of habeas corpus is a statutory civil remedy available “to obtain relief from
[unlawful] imprisonment or restraint.”
Appellant argues that the district court
erred in concluding that the commissioner complied with the requirements of Minn.
Stat. § 243.05 (2004), and that his immediate release is mandated because he
has served more than 25 years of his life sentence. Under
Minn. Stat. § 243.05, subd. 1 (a)(2), the commissioner “may parole any
person . . . serving a life sentence for committing murder
before May 1, 1980, . . . [after the person has] served 25 years[.]” On October 7, 1978, a jury found appellant guilty of
first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and aggravated assault. Appellant was sentenced to life in prison. Appellant’s parole-eligibility date was
December 5, 1994. When an
inmate becomes eligible for parole, the decision to grant release is within the
discretion of the commissioner of corrections.
Minn. Stat. § 244.05, subds. 4, 5 (2004); see also State v. Schwartz, 628 N.W.2d 134, 142 (
argues that the district court erred in concluding that the commissioner
complied with the requirements of Minn. R. 2940.1800 (2003). In determining whether an inmate serving a
life sentence should be paroled, the commissioner must follow the procedures of
Minn. R. 2940.1800. The commissioner is
required to convene an advisory panel to review an inmate three years prior to
that inmate’s supervised-release-eligibility date to establish a projected
release date or a future review date.
Minn. R. 2940.1800, subps. 1, 2.
The panel considers an “inmate’s entire case history, including the
facts and circumstances of the offense for which the life sentence is being
served; past criminal history, institutional adjustment, program team reports,
psychological and psychiatric reports . . . ; and the results of
The commissioner followed the procedures of Minn. R. 2940.1800. The commissioner convened an advisory panel. Appellant’s initial review occurred in December 1991, the required three years prior to appellant’s parole-eligibility date. The commissioner advised appellant that his incarceration would continue for two years and that appellant was expected to continue counseling and to start working with individuals from the outside. Appellant’s next review occurred in December 1993. Appellant was advised that his incarceration would continue for three years and that he was expected to continue therapy and to prepare written reports for the commissioner. Appellant was reviewed again in December 1996. Appellant was advised that his incarceration would continue for six years and that he was expected to continue therapy, work toward gaining insight into why he committed his offense, meet with the warden to clarify the commissioner’s expectations, and prepare written reports for the commissioner. Appellant’s next review occurred in November 2002. Appellant was advised that his incarceration would continue for three years and that he was to remain discipline free, and complete Lifer Groups 1 and 2, anger management, critical thinking, victim impact programming, and the restorative justice initiatives. The commissioner followed Minn. R. 2940.1800.
Appellant argues, however, that the commissioner should have granted him parole because he has done everything to comply with the mandates of both his sentence and the commissioner. Appellant contends that he is entitled to release because he has served 28 years without disciplinary infractions, has been successful in prison programs, and completed the requirements for a master electrician license. The record does not support appellant’s contention. Following his 1991 review, the commissioner advised appellant that the panel was interested in appellant’s progress in therapy with regard to his offense. Following his next two reviews, the commissioner advised appellant that he must demonstrate that he no longer posed a threat to public safety, and that he gain insight into his offense. Finally, following appellant’s 2002 review, the commissioner advised appellant that his continued resistance to self-improvement programs, which would have prepared him for release and reduced his risk to public safety, ensured his continued incarceration.
The commissioner’s conclusions are supported by psychological evaluations conducted prior to each of appellant’s reviews. In 1991, the evaluator concluded that appellant had a strong tendency toward social avoidance. In 1993, the evaluator could not predict appellant’s future risk because appellant could not explain why he acted so violently in committing his offense. In 1996, the evaluator concluded that appellant was increasingly defensive, rigid, and resistant to change. The evaluator expressed difficulty with the evaluation because appellant focused on blame and frustration with his circumstances and the system. The evaluator could not assess appellant’s risk for dangerousness because appellant’s passive-aggressive orientation handicapped the evaluation. In June 1999, appellant terminated counseling; at that time his counselor indicated that appellant was largely lacking insight as to why he committed his crime and that it was unlikely that he would develop more insight. Finally, a September 2002 report noted that appellant was not involved in any instructional programs and that he had not completed his Lifer Groups. The record supports the commissioner’s decision to continue appellant’s incarceration.
Appellant also argues that he was entitled
to an evidentiary hearing because he raised a question of fact as to whether
the commissioner abused her discretion. A
writ of habeas corpus “does not issue as a matter of course. It [is] incumbent upon [the petitioner] to
set forth in his petition sufficient facts to establish a prima facie case for
his discharge.” State ex rel. Fife v. Tahash, 261
Finally, appellant argues that the
commissioner abused her discretion by extending appellant’s incarceration for
five years. This decision was rendered
in January 2006, after the district court’s order denying appellant’s petition. This argument is outside the
record and will not be considered. See Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d
580, 582-83 (