This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Franciosa Thomas, petitioner,
State of Minnesota,
Affirmed as modified
Steele County District Court
File Nos. KX-93-942, K9-93-1063
Joseph F. Thomas, Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater,
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, 1800
Douglas L. Ruth, Steele County Attorney, Scott L. Schreiner, Assistant County Attorney, 303 South Cedar, Owatonna, MN 55060 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Wright, Presiding Judge; Stoneburner, Judge; and Dietzen, Judge.
In this appeal from the district court’s postconviction decision on appellant’s motion to clarify his sentences for several 1993 offenses, appellant argues that the district court unlawfully increased the length of his sentences. We affirm as modified.
Based on events that occurred on June 25 and October 26, 1993, respondent State of Minnesota charged appellant Joseph Thomas with multiple counts of first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct and furnishing alcohol to minors. The jury found Thomas guilty of three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Minn. Stat. § 609.342, subd. 1(c), (e)(i), (e)(ii) (1992); 13 counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, Minn. Stat. § 609.344, subd. 1(b), (c) (1992 & Supp. 1993), (d) (Supp. 1993); and three counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor, Minn. Stat. § 340A.503, subd. 2(1) (1992). Because some of the criminal-sexual-conduct offenses were part of the same course of conduct, the district court imposed sentences only for one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Minn. Stat. § 609.342, subd. 1(c) (making it unlawful to engage in sexual penetration under circumstances that cause complainant to reasonably fear imminent great bodily harm to self or another) (offense one); one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Minn. Stat. § 609.342, subd. 1(e)(i) (making it unlawful to use force or coercion to accomplish sexual penetration while also causing personal injury to complainant) (offense two); and two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, Minn. Stat. § 609.344, subd. 1(c) (Supp. 1993) (making it unlawful to use force or coercion to accomplish sexual penetration) (offenses three and four). The district court sentenced Thomas to 76 months’ imprisonment, 39 months’ supervised release, and five years’ conditional release on offense one; 60 months’ imprisonment, 31 months’ supervised release, and ten years’ conditional release on offense two; 34 months’ imprisonment, 18 months’ supervised release, and ten years’ conditional release on offense three; and 34 months’ imprisonment, 18 months’ supervised release, and ten years’ conditional release on offense four. The district court ordered the terms of imprisonment for each of these offenses to run consecutively. For the offenses of furnishing alcohol to minors, the district court imposed a sentence of one year, to run concurrently with the other sentences.
The district court then summarized its sentencing order as follows: “Basically, what this sentence imposes . . . in actual confinement time is 17 years . . . . That 17 years will be followed by one and a half years under what would be termed supervised release . . . .” The warrant of commitment for offense one included both the term of imprisonment and the term of supervised release, but the warrant of commitment for offenses two, three, and four set forth only the term of imprisonment.
On June 7, 2006, Thomas moved to clarify the sentence because the Minnesota Department of Corrections interpreted the total length of imprisonment as 310 months notwithstanding the warrants of commitment, which set forth a cumulative term of confinement of 204 months followed by 39 months’ supervised release. At the hearing on the motion, the district court acknowledged that its pronouncement of the sentence at the sentencing hearing “probably caused some confusion” because the district court divided each sentence into prison time, which is two-thirds of the term of incarceration, and “good time,” which is one-third of the term. Concluding that the sentencing transcript controls over the inconsistent warrants of commitment, the district court determined that it imposed a sentence of 115 months (76 months’ imprisonment and 39 months’ supervised release) on offense one; 91 months (60 months’ imprisonment and 31 months’ supervised release) on offense two; 52 months (34 months’ imprisonment and 18 months’ supervised release) on offense three; and 52 months (34 months’ imprisonment and 18 months’ supervised release) on offense four. Thus, the total sentence imposed was 310 months. In its August 10, 2006 order, the district court explained that it had inadvertently omitted the terms of supervised release for offenses two, three, and four in the warrant of commitment. This appeal followed.
D E C I S I O N
Although “a criminal
sentence, once pronounced, is [not] accorded constitutional finality and
conclusiveness similar to that which attaches to a jury’s verdict of
States v. DiFrancesco, 449 U.S. 117, 132, 101
S. Ct. 426, 435 (1980), we recognize that a “criminal defendant[ has a]
legitimate expectation of finality in [a] sentence once
it has been pronounced,” State
v. Walsh, 456 N.W.2d 442, 444 (Minn. App. 1990). Thomas argues that the district
court erroneously increased his sentence from 204 months’ imprisonment and 18
months’ supervised release to 310 months’ imprisonment. The state counters that the August 2006 postconviction
order merely clarifies the pronounced sentences and corrects the
clerical mistakes in the warrant of commitment for offenses two, three, and
four. See Minn. R. Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 8 (allowing district court in
sentencing proceedings to correct “[c]lerical mistakes in judgments, orders, or
other parts of the record or errors in the record arising from oversight or
omission”). Whether a sentence is
contrary to Minnesota’s sentencing statutes and, therefore, warrants correction
is a question of law, which we review de novo.
State v. Gilbert, 634 N.W.2d
439, 441 (Minn. App. 2001), review denied
Thomas committed the criminal acts underlying offense one on June 25, 1993. The criminal acts underlying offenses two, three, and four were committed on October 26, 1993. Between June and October 1993, Minnesota’s sentencing scheme changed. Under Minnesota law, for crimes committed before August 1, 1993, an offender’s term of imprisonment will be “reduced in duration by one day for each two days during which the [offender] violates none of the disciplinary offense rules promulgated by the commissioner [of corrections]. The reduction shall accrue to the period of supervised release to be served by the [offender] . . . .” Minn. Stat. § 244.04, subd. 1 (1992). This reduction is referred to as “good time.” Minn. Stat. § 244.01, subd. 5 (1992). For crimes committed on or after August 1, 1993, the good-time reduction was eliminated and replaced with “a fixed executed sentence . . . [that] consists of two parts: (1) a specified minimum term of imprisonment that is equal to two-thirds of the executed sentence; and (2) a specified maximum supervised release term that is equal to one-third of the executed sentence.” Minn. Stat. § 244.101, subd. 1 (Supp. 1993); see Minn. Sent. Guidelines IV (“Offenders committed to the Commissioner of Corrections for crimes committed on or after August 1, 1993 will no longer earn good time.”)
At the sentencing hearing, the district court pronounced Thomas’s sentence for offense one as follows: “[I]t is the sentence of this Court . . . that you serve 76 months in prison[, t]hat you be committed to the Commissioner of Corrections until said prison term is served[, and t]hat, in addition to that 76 months that you serve 39 months on supervised release . . . .” Because Thomas committed the criminal act underlying offense one before August 1, 1993, the district court’s division of the sentence between a term of imprisonment and a definite term of supervised release was erroneous. Rather, the district court should have pronounced a term of imprisonment that is subject to the good-time reduction of one day for each two days during which Thomas does not violate the commissioner’s disciplinary-offense rules, which shall accrue to a period of supervised release under Minn. Stat. § 244.04, subd. 1. The district court repeated this error in its August 2006 postconviction order, which explained that Thomas was “committed to the Commissioner of Corrections for a period of 115 months for [offense one]; 76 of those months were to be served in prison, with 39 of those months to be served on supervised release.” Although the division of Thomas’s sentence for offense one is a misstatement of the law, the record clearly establishes that the district court intended to impose a sentence of 115 months’ imprisonment, which then would be subject to a good-time reduction that accrues to a period of supervised release. To effectuate the district court’s intent, we modify the district court’s August 2006 postconviction order to clarify that Thomas’s sentence for offense one was and is 115 months’ imprisonment, which is subject to a good-time reduction that accrues to the period of supervised release as set forth in Minn. Stat. § 244.04, subd. 1.
The district court also
pronounced Thomas’s sentences for offenses two, three, and four by dividing
them between a term of imprisonment and a term of supervised release. Because the criminal acts that underlie these
offenses were committed after August 1, 1993, this division between a “specified
minimum term of imprisonment that is equal to two-thirds of the executed
sentence” and “a specified maximum supervised release term that is equal to
one-third of the executed sentence” was proper.
Minn. Stat. § 244.101, subd. 1.
Although the warrant of commitment for these offenses did not include
the periods of supervised release pronounced during the sentencing hearing, an “oral pronouncement of a sentence controls over
the written sentencing order.”
v. Staloch, 643 N.W.2d 329, 332 (
For crimes committed on or after August 1, 1993, a district court must explain the total duration of the offender’s executed sentence, the amount of time the offender will serve in prison, and the amount of time the offender will serve on supervised release if the offender does not commit any disciplinary offenses while in prison. Minn. Stat. § 244.101, subd. 2 (Supp. 1993). After pronouncing Thomas’s sentences, the district court explained that Thomas would actually serve 17 years, or 204 months, in prison (the total of 76 months for offense one, 60 months for offense two, 34 months for offense three, and 34 months for offense four). This explanation complies with the requirement that a district court “explain . . . the amount of time the defendant will serve in prison.” Id. But the district court erroneously explained that the period of supervised release was 18 months. This explanation was incomplete because the district court had imposed 31 months of supervised release for offense two, 18 months for offense three, and 18 months for offense four. In addition, Thomas could earn 39 months of good time that would accrue to his period of supervised release for offense one (with a potential total of 106 months’ supervised release for offenses one through four). See Minn. Stat. § 244.04, subd. 1 (stating that good-time reduction accrues to period of supervised release); Miller v. State, 714 N.W.2d 745, 747 (Minn. App. 2006) (explaining that under Minn. Sent. Guidelines II.F.02, “periods of supervised release are aggregated”). The district court also failed to explain that the total length of Thomas’s executed sentence is the aggregate of the terms of imprisonment and the terms of supervised release (310 months).
Although the district court erroneously explained the duration of Thomas’s supervised-release term, a district court’s “explanation of the potential length of a defendant’s supervised release term . . . creates no right of a defendant to any specific, minimum length of a supervised release term.” Minn. Stat. § 244.101, subd. 3 (Supp. 1993). Moreover, the district court corrected this error, as well as its failure to explain the total length of Thomas’s executed sentence, in its August 2006 postconviction order:
The total number of months [Thomas] was sentenced to serve in prison was 310 months. Out of these 310 months . . . , [Thomas] was eligible for supervised release for a total of 106 months. To re-iterate, [Thomas] must serve a minimum total of 20 months in prison, and may or may not be required to serve the additional 106 months in prison depending on the requirements of the supervised release program.
The correction of these errors in the record, which arose “from oversight or omission” was well within the district court’s authority. Minn. R. Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 8.
Because the district court’s August 2006 postconviction order clarifies Thomas’s sentence and corrects clerical mistakes, we affirm. But because the 115-month sentence imposed for offense one is subject to good-time reduction under Minn. Stat. § 244.04, subd.1, we modify the order to clarify this aspect of the district court’s decision.
Affirmed as modified.
 In an unpublished opinion affirming Thomas’s convictions, we characterized the sentences imposed as follows: “Thomas was sentenced to four consecutive sentences for an aggregate term of 204 months.” State v. Thomas, No. C9-94-2453, 1995 WL 507602, at *1 (Minn. App. Aug. 29, 1995), review denied (Minn. Oct. 27, 1995).
 In the summary, the district court committed an error when totalling the months to be served in prison and mistakenly ordered Thomas to serve 205 months rather than the correct total of 204 months.