State of Minnesota
                            in Court of Appeals

     State of Minnesota,

Matthew Allan Lambert,
     Filed May 14, 1996
Schumacher, Judge

Brown County District Court

File No. K695346

Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota
Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Respondent)

James R. Olson, Brown County Attorney, Eric A. Bartsch, Assistant County
Attorney, Post Office Box 428, New Ulm, MN 56073-0428 (for Respondent)

John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Marie L. Wolf, Assistant Public
Defender, 2829 University Avenue, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for

Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Parker, Judge, and
Davies, Judge.

Under Minn. Stat. § 609.101, a sentencing court may impose a fine below
the statutory minimum without establishing that the defendant has the
ability to pay the reduced fine.

SCHUMACHER, Judge (Hon. Terri J. Stoneburner, District Court Trial

Appellant Matthew Allan Lambert challenges the district court's imposition
of a $25,000 fine for his conviction of second-degree controlled substance
crime. We affirm.

In October 1994, in exchange for $600, Lambert delivered an envelope
containing cocaine to a man acting as a police informant. Lambert was
charged with one count of second-degree controlled substance crime and he
pleaded guilty. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the prosecution recommended
a downward sentencing departure. The district court imposed the 51-month
recommended downward departure because Lambert had no previous involvement
in the drug trade and he did not use cocaine. In addition, the district
court ordered Lambert to pay a fine in the amount of $25,000.

Did the district court err by imposing a fine below the statutory minimum
fine without determining Lambert's ability to pay the reduced fine?

Lambert contends the district court abused its discretion by ordering him
to pay a $25,000 fine because he is financially unable to pay the fine and
there is no indication that he was involved in the drug trafficking
network. Lambert relies on State v. Martinson, 460 N.W.2d 342, 344
(Minn. App. 1990), review denied (Minn. Oct. 25, 1990), where this
court cautioned sentencing courts against routinely imposing fines and held
the sentencing court must consider the defendant's ability to pay before
imposing a fine. That decision, however, was superseded by Minn. Stat.
§ 609.101 (1994).

Minn. Stat. § 609.101, subd. 3(a), provides:
        Notwithstanding any other law, when a court
        sentences a person convicted of a controlled
        substance crime under sections 152.021 to 152.025,
        it must impose a fine of not less than 20 percent
        of the maximum fine authorized by law nor more
        than the maximum fine authorized by law.

(Emphasis added.) The minimum fine ``is in addition to any sentence of
imprisonment or restitution imposed or ordered by the court.'' Id.,
subd. 3(b).

Lambert's conviction under Minn. Stat. § 152.022, subd. 1(1) (1994),
corresponds to a maximum fine in the amount of $500,000 and a minimum fine
in the amount of $100,000 (20% of $500,000). Minn. Stat. § 152.022,
subd. 3(a) (1994). Here, the district court reduced the amount of the
minimum fine:
        I will reduce that fine to $25,000. I know that
        based upon your past history that's a lot of money,
        Mr. Lambert, but you're 24 years old; and you've got
        a lot of time to pay this money. And I think in five
        years at $5,000 a year you can get this paid off. I
        will waive any surcharges and library fees and

        criminal surcharges and just make it a straight

Minn. Stat. § 609.101, subd. 5, expressly authorizes the sentencing
court to reduce the amount of the minimum fine. Although that provision
requires the court to make written findings ``that the convicted person is
indigent or that immediate payment of the [minimum fine] * * * would create
undue hardship,'' that requirement does not provide a defendant with a
basis to challenge the amount of a reduced minimum fine. The purpose of the
findings requirement is to evaluate whether the district court should have
imposed the higher statutory minimum. Moreover, Minn. Stat. § 609.101,
subd. 5, prohibits the court from waiving payment of the minimum fine.

Lambert raises the issue of his inability to pay the imposed fine. A
sentencing court, however, need not determine a defendant's ability to pay
the statutory minimum fine. State v. Patterson, 511 N.W.2d 476, 479
(Minn. App. 1994), review denied (Minn. Mar. 31, 1994). It follows
that the district court need not determine if a defendant is able to pay a
fine that has been reduced below the statutory minimum. See Minn.
Stat. § 645.17(1) (1994) (courts must construe statutes in accordance
with presumption that legislature does not intend absurd or unreasonable
result). Although Patterson refers briefly to findings necessary to
reduce a fine below the minimum, that reference is to the statutory
findings limiting the court's discretion and is not raised as an issue in
this case. Here, Lambert cites as error the fact that the district court
did not make findings on his ability to pay the fine, not the fact that the
district court reduced the statutorily-mandated minimum fine.

The legislature has the authority to fix the limits of punishment for a
criminal act. State v. Lambert, 392 N.W.2d 242, 243 (Minn. 1986).
The legislature has now mandated minimum fines. Minn. Stat. § 609.101,
subd. 3(a). Lambert's challenge should be directed at the statute, rather
than the district court's decision in this case. In any event, he has not
presented an argument that the statute is unconstitutional. See
Koppinger v. City of Fairmont, 311 Minn. 186, 189 n.2, 248 N.W.2d 708,
711 n.2 (1976) (issue merely stated without argument or analysis is deemed

Finally, Lambert's argument regarding his minimal involvement in the drug
trade lacks merit because the amount of his drug-related profits relates to
ability to pay considerations that are no longer required under Minn. Stat.
§ 609.101. Cf. Martinson, 460 N.W.2d at 344 (in
determining ability to pay, court may inquire into profits derived from
drug sales).

The district court did not err by imposing a fine below the statutory
minimum fine without further determining Lambert's ability to pay the
reduced fine.