This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Ronald Edward Hott, petitioner,
Filed May 29, 2007
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 05063208
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Richard A. Schmitz,
Assistant Public Defender,
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, 1800
Michael O. Freeman,
Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Dietzen, Judge; and Worke, Judge.
Appellant challenges the district court’s denial of his motion for sentence correction following his conviction of theft of a motor vehicle under Minn. Stat. § 609.52, subd. 2(1), arguing that the state failed to establish that he intended to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle. We affirm.
In July 2005, the
police received a report that a Chevy Caprice was stolen in
In September 2005, the police received a report that an Oldsmobile Cutlass was stolen. A few days later the police observed the Cutlass and identified appellant as the driver. Appellant was later charged with theft of a motor vehicle under Minn. Stat. § 609.52, subd. 2(17).
In October 2005,
police received a report that a Chevy Suburban had been stolen from a parking
In November 2005, appellant pleaded guilty to an amended count of theft of a motor vehicle under Minn. Stat. § 609.52, subd. 2(1) (2004), which, unlike the original theft charges, includes a requirement of intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. In exchange, the state agreed to dismiss the charges related to the July and September incidents and to not charge appellant for other theft of motor vehicle matters that occurred prior to October 1, 2005. Based on appellant’s agreed-upon criminal history score of five, the amended charge carried a presumptive sentence of 27 months with a range of 23 to 32 months. The district court accepted the guilty plea and appellant agreed to a sentence of 30 months.
In February 2006, appellant filed a pro se motion for sentence correction under Minn. R. Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9, with a request for appointment of counsel. Appellant requested that he be resentenced to the presumptive sentence on the original charge, arguing that his admission did not supply a sufficient basis for the amended charge of theft of a motor vehicle with intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle. Following arguments, the district court denied appellant’s motion, concluding that the evidence in the record supported the conclusion that appellant intended to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle. This appeal followed.
D E C I S I O N
Appellant contends that the district
court abused its discretion by denying his motion for sentence correction,
arguing that there was no adequate factual basis to support the conviction. Minn. R. Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9, provides
that a court “at any time may correct a sentence not authorized by law.” On appeal from a district court’s denial of a
rule 27.03 motion, this court “will not reevaluate a sentence if the trial
court’s discretion has been properly exercised and the sentence is authorized
by law.” State v. Stutelberg, 435 N.W.2d 632, 633-34 (Minn. App. 1989) (quoting
Fritz v. State, 284 N.W.2d 377, 386 (
Here, appellant seeks a sentence correction on the ground that the facts elicited at the guilty plea hearing do not provide an adequate factual basis for a conviction. Essentially, appellant argues that the facts elicited at the guilty plea hearing do not establish intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle and, therefore, he should be resentenced under the original charge, which carries a presumptive sentence of 21 months, instead of the 30 months to which he was sentenced. Thus, appellant seeks to keep his deal with the state that all other charges against him be dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea to the amended charge, but argues that the facts elicited at the hearing are not sufficient to support a conviction.
But a motion for sentence correction under rule 27 does not provide a basis for the relief appellant seeks. Specifically, rule 27.03 contemplates correction only of unauthorized sentences; it does not address the validity of the underlying conviction. See Minn. R. Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9. Because appellant’s sentence of 30 months comports with the presumptive sentence for his conviction of the amended charge under Minn. Stat. § 609.52, subd. 2(1) (2004), his sentence is authorized by law and rule 27.03 offers appellant no relief.
But even if we were to consider the validity of
appellant’s conviction, appellant’s argument lacks merit. Once a guilty plea is entered and the
defendant is sentenced, there is “no absolute right” to withdraw the plea. Shorter v. State, 511 N.W.2d 743, 746 (
Appellant does not question that the guilty plea was knowingly and voluntarily made. Here, the district court observed that “[appellant] knew every detail of the negotiation, was given time to consider the offer and proceeded knowingly and voluntarily.” But appellant does argue that the plea was “inaccurate.”
To be “accurate,” a proper
factual basis for the guilty plea must be established.
Minn. Stat. § 609.52,
subd. 2(1), provides that anyone who “intentionally and without claim of right
takes, uses, transfers, conceals or retains possession of movable property of
another without the other’s consent and
with intent to deprive the owner permanently of possession of the property”
may be convicted of theft. (Emphasis
added.) Intent to permanently deprive
may be inferred from the facts and circumstances of the offense. See State
v. Duea, 414 N.W.2d 513, 515 (
Appellant argues that his failure to admit that he intended to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle precluded a finding of the requisite intent. The district court rejected appellant’s argument, concluding his admission that he didn’t know the vehicle’s owner and that he drove the vehicle without permission, coupled with fleeing from the police, “mitigate against any conclusion that [appellant] intended to return the vehicle to its rightful owner.”
We agree. Appellant’s unauthorized use of the vehicle and use of the vehicle to flee the police is sufficient to prove the requisite intent. Further, appellant’s possession of the car the day after it was stolen supports a conclusion that he had the intent to permanently deprive the owner. Cf. Duea, 414 N.W.2d at 515 (concluding that possession of tools shortly after their disappearance by person who stuffed tools into his pockets, avoided speaking with police, and gave inadequate explanation for his possession of tools supported inference that appellant had requisite intent to support conviction under Minn. Stat. § 609.52, subd. 2(1)).
Appellant argues that he was merely “joy riding” and compares his situation to several cases involving car thefts, but those cases are factually and legal distinguishable and do not compel the result he seeks. Here, the conviction is supported by a sufficient factual basis in the record. Therefore, the plea is accurate, and the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying appellant’s motion.
Appellant has filed a supplemental pro se brief, in which he argues that he did not know that the amended charge required an intent to permanently deprive the owner as an element, and that he “would have never pled guilty to this as this was not [his] intention.” But even without an admission on intent, there is ample evidence on the record “which would support a jury verdict that [appellant] is guilty of at least as great a crime as that to which he pled guilty.” Genereux, 272 N.W.2d at 34.
Appellant also argues that his attorney lied to him and told him that his fiancée needed to leave the state to see her father who had a stroke in order to manipulate him into pleading guilty that day. There is no evidence to support appellant’s accusation against his defense attorney.
Further, appellant argues that the district court was biased in favor of the prosecuting attorney based on the timing of various correspondences, the district court’s grant of a continuance to the prosecution, and the district court’s alleged failure to rule on his motion in 90 days. These arguments likewise lack merit.
should note that appellant does not seek to withdraw his plea. Rather, he has argued that “he should be
allowed to not withdraw his plea” and
instead receive a lower sentence on the basis of his plea. But if appellant’s plea truly were without
factual basis, the only suitable remedy would be plea withdrawal under Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.05, subd. 1,
because reducing the sentence would change the terms of the negotiated plea
bargain. Cf. State v. Misquadace, 629 N.W.2d 487, 491 (Minn. App. 2001), aff’d, 644 N.W.2d 65 (