This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).







State of Minnesota,





Sean Samuel Patterson,




Filed June 19, 2007


Halbrooks, Judge



Hennepin County District Court

File No. 03083104



Lori Swanson, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN  55101; and


Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Michael Richardson, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Michael W. Kunkel, Assistant Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)



            Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Hudson, 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 his postconviction petition, appellant argues that he should be able to withdraw his guilty plea on the ground that his plea was not intelligently entered into because he was not adequately informed of the mandatory 10‑year conditional-release term that is part of his sentence.  We affirm.


            Appellant Sean Samuel Patterson was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct under Minn. Stat. § 609.342, subd. 1(e)(i), (f)(i) (2002), and one count of kidnapping under Minn. Stat. § 609.25, subd. 1(2) (2002).  Appellant pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct under Minn. Stat. § 609.342, subd. 1(f)(i), in exchange for dismissal of the other charges and the state’s agreement not to seek an upward durational departure.  The district court sentenced appellant to the agreed-on presumptive term of 144 months.  As a condition of sentencing, the district court included a 10-year conditional-release term pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 609.109, subd. 7 (2002).

            Because the plea agreement did not include a conditional-release term, appellant challenged his sentence by appealing to this court and sought postconviction relief from the district court.  We stayed the appeal, pending completion of the postconviction proceedings.  The postconviction court denied appellant’s petition.  This appeal follows.


            A postconviction court’s decision to deny relief is reviewed on an abuse-of-discretion basis.  Dukes v. State, 621 N.W.2d 246, 251 (Minn. 2001).  But the validity, interpretation, and enforcement of plea agreements present issues of law subject to de novo review.  State v. Rhodes, 675 N.W.2d 323, 326 (Minn. 2004). 

A constitutionally valid guilty plea “must be accurate, voluntary, and intelligent (i.e., knowingly and understandingly made).”  State v. Ecker, 524 N.W.2d 712, 716 (Minn. 1994).  “[T]he intelligent requirement insures that the defendant understands the charges, his or her rights under the law, and the consequences of pleading guilty.”  Alanis v. State, 583 N.W.2d 573, 577 (Minn. 1998).  The absence of any of the three requisites, as proven by the defendant, results in “manifest injustice,” allowing the defendant the right to withdraw the plea.  Id.    

“[A] plea may be validly entered even if there is not strict compliance with” Minn. R. Crim. P. 15.  State v. Christopherson, 644 N.W.2d 507, 511 (Minn. App. 2002), review denied (Minn. July 16, 2002).  In determining whether a plea agreement was violated, courts seek to ascertain what the parties reasonably understood the agreement’s terms to be.  State v. Brown, 606 N.W.2d 670, 674 (Minn. 2000).  Conditional-release terms that increase the sentence’s length beyond the negotiated amount violate the plea agreement.  State v. Jumping Eagle, 620 N.W.2d 42, 44-45 (Minn. 2000) (allowing withdrawal of plea because conditional-release term exceeded the upper limit of his plea agreement).  But because strict compliance is not required, “the fact that the conditional release was not mentioned . . . at the time the original plea was entered is not, in itself, enough to demonstrate that [the] plea was not accurate, voluntary, and intelligent.”  Christopherson, 644 N.W.2d at 511.

The applicable conditional-release term statute provides:

            Notwithstanding the statutory maximum sentence otherwise applicable to the offense or any provision of the sentencing guidelines, when a court sentences a person to prison for a violation of section 609.342, . . . the court shall provide that after the person has completed the sentence imposed, the commissioner of corrections shall place the person on conditional release. . . .  If the person was convicted for a violation of one of those sections after a previous sex offense conviction . . . the person shall be placed on conditional release for ten years, minus the time the person served on supervised release.


Minn. Stat. § 609.109, subd. 7(a) (2002).  The supreme court has held that a conditional-release term for the statutorily enumerated offenses is mandatory and nonwaivable.  State v. Humes, 581 N.W.2d 317, 319-20 (Minn. 1998). 

            Here, a pre-plea investigation, which recommended that the court consider a 10‑year conditional-release term as part of the sentence, was completed several months before the sentencing hearing.  Appellant and his counsel received a copy of the report approximately four months before appellant pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct.  Appellant subsequently asked to waive completion of the pre-sentencing investigation (PSI) and agreed to be sentenced simultaneously with the entry of his plea.  As a result, there was only one hearing in this matter.  When the district court orally sentenced appellant to 144 months, it also imposed the 10-year conditional-release term.  No objections were made by appellant or his counsel. 

            In his postconviction petition, appellant argued that his guilty plea was not intelligently entered into because he was unaware of the conditional-release term at the time of the plea agreement.  The postconviction court, the same judge who sentenced appellant, determined that appellant’s knowledge of the conditional-release term could be imputed to him because (1) the term was recommended in the pre-plea investigation; (2) appellant and his counsel had the pre-plea investigation for several months before sentencing; (3) the fact that appellant waived his right to a PSI is proof that he was on notice of the conditional-release term and did not want any additional information prior to sentencing; (4) the 10-year conditional-release term was imposed by the district court at the sentencing hearing, as opposed to some later time; and (5) appellant or his counsel could have objected to it, but did not.

            The state argues that the facts of this case most closely resemble those in Rhodes.  We agree.  In Rhodes, the defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct with the understanding that he would receive a maximum executed sentence of 105 months.  675 N.W.2d at 325.  A conditional-release term was not included in the plea petition or discussed at the plea hearing.  Id.  But the PSI “face sheet included a reference to ‘Conditional Release: 5 Years’” and concluded with a recommendation for “‘a five year Conditional Release period upon his release from custody.’”  Id.  At Rhodes’s sentencing hearing, the prosecutor “specifically stated to the court that, ‘along with a prison sentence, Rhodes would be sentenced to a five-year period of conditional release.’”  Id.  Neither Rhodes nor his counsel objected to the term, even when given an opportunity to speak.  Id.  Three years later, Rhodes petitioned for postconviction relief, seeking to withdraw his guilty plea or elimination of the conditional-release term on the ground that his plea was not intelligently entered into.  Id.

            The district court denied Rhodes’s petition.  Id.  But this court reversed, concluding that Rhodes “did not intelligently enter his plea because he did not know all the direct consequences of his plea.  Rhodes v. State, No. C7-03-80, 2003 WL 21452143, at *4 (Minn. App. June 24, 2003).

The supreme court reversed this court, concluding that “Rhodes was on notice that the conditional release term for sex offenders was mandatory and could not be waived by the district court.”  Rhodes, 675 N.W.2d at 327.  The supreme court noted that the statutory requirement of a conditional-release term was added in 1992, seven years before Rhodes entered his plea, and the cases requiring compliance with it were decided in 1998, ten months before Rhodes’s plea.  Id.  In addition, the supreme court concluded that “the postconviction court could infer from Rhodes’ failure to object to the [PSI’s] recommendation, the state’s request at the sentencing hearing and the court’s imposition of the sentence, that Rhodes understood from the beginning that the conditional release term would be a mandatory addition to his plea bargain.”  Id.

            Here, appellant’s awareness of the likely imposition of the 10-year conditional-release term can be traced not only to the statute and well-established caselaw but also to the pre-plea investigation report, which he received four months before sentencing.  Based on appellant’s failure to object to the conditional-release term at the sentencing hearing, we conclude that the postconviction court did not abuse its discretion in denying appellant’s petition.