This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Michael Dean Williams,
Filed September 3, 1996
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 94092853
Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55155 (for Respondent)
Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, J. Michael Richardson, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for Respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Cathryn Y. Middlebrook, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for Appellant)
Considered and decided by Crippen, Presiding Judge, Parker, Judge, and Short, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
After Michael Dean Williams pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, the trial court ordered a downward dispositional departure and imposed a 30-month stayed sentence with four years' probation. Six months later, following Williams's third probation violation, the trial court executed his sentence. On appeal, Williams argues the trial court clearly abused its discretion by revoking his probation instead of ordering inpatient chemical dependency treatment. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
Once an offender has admitted to violating a condition of his or her probation, the trial court may either continue that person on probation or revoke probation and execute a previously-imposed sentence. Minn. R. Crim. P. 27.04, subd. 3(3)(b). In making this choice, the trial court exercises broad discretion and will not be reversed unless it has clearly abused that discretion. State v. Austin, 295 N.W.2d 246, 249-50 (Minn. 1980). Thus, if the record supports a determination that the offender has (1) intentionally or inexcusably (2)a specific condition of his probation, and (3) the need for confinement outweighs the policies favoring probation, we will affirm a revocation order. Id. at 250. Williams acknowledges he violated a condition of his probation by absconding from a halfway house, but claims he did so unintentionally, and the policies favoring probation continue to outweigh the need for confinement.
Although Williams states his final probation violation was unintentional, he cites no evidence to show that an outside force physically prevented his return to the halfway house. See id. (rejecting a probationer's lack-of-intent argument because nothing physically prevented his compliance with the trial court's instructions). Rather, the evidence shows Williams: (1) violated the terms of his probation on two previous occasions; (2) abandoned the halfway house once before; and (3) received an explicit warning that further violations would justify the execution of his sentence. Because Williams knew the restrictions imposed by the halfway house's pass system and understood the consequences of noncompliance, the record suggests he acted intentionally. See State v. Theel, 532 N.W.2d 265, 267 (Minn. App. 1995) (finding sufficient evidence of an intentional violation because the offender knew his behavior exceeded the limitations imposed by his probation), review denied (Minn. July 20, 1995). Williams's cocaine addiction neither vitiates intent nor constitutes a license to ignore the responsibilities of probation, especially when the trial court has conditioned a stay of execution on total abstinence. See State v. Ehmke, 400 N.W.2d 839, 840-41 (Minn. App. 1987) (affirming a revocation order, in part because the probationer continued to abuse alcohol).
Williams insists that he is amenable to probation. Although Williams's age, parental status, 11-year hiatus between criminal convictions, and reputation as a "homebody" suggest his amenability to probation, the trial court initially considered these factors in departing from the presumptive 30-month executed sentence. The question now is whether probation continues to serve the interests of rehabilitation or has ended in failure, justifying revocation. See Austin, 295 N.W.2d at 250 (stating the purpose of probation is rehabilitation and authorizing revocation after treatment has failed).
Williams argues the trial court acted prematurely in declaring his probation a failure because he violated the conditions of his probation only in technical ways. See Minn. Sent. Guidelines III.B (cautioning against revocation and execution of stayed sentences on the basis of technical violations). We disagree. Williams's behavior involves serious violations, including the failure to submit to required monitoring (urinalysis) and the unauthorized absence from a halfway house for several days at a time. See State v. Saavedra, 406 N.W.2d 667, 669 (N.D. 1987) (affirming a revocation order based on the probationer's refusal to provide urine samples); see also United States v. Shangreaux, 897 F.2d 939, 941-42 (8th Cir. 1990) (affirming a revocation order based in part on the probationer's violation of a halfway house's pass regulations).
Williams also argues the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his probation in the absence of a new felony conviction. See Minn. Sent. Guidelines III.B (describing a new conviction for a felony carrying a presumptive executed sentence as a factor justifying revocation and execution of a stayed sentence). However, even though the state has not charged Williams with additional crimes, it is undisputed that: (1) Williams continues to abuse cocaine, which has contributed to his three probation violations during the six months following sentencing; (2) the trial court attempted to resolve this problem by ordering time in the workhouse, participation in the workhouse's chemical dependency program, and residence at a halfway house as additional conditions of probation; and (3)has shown utter disregard for the trial court's authority by absconding from the halfway house notwithstanding a warning that such behavior would justify execution of his sentence. These facts supply an adequate basis for the trial court's revocation order. See id. (authorizing revocation and execution of stayed sentences based on continued violations in the face of increased conditions); Austin, 295 N.W.2d at 251 (permitting revocation because the probationer failed to demonstrate his commitment to rehabilitation); Theel, 532 N.W.2d at 267 (affirming a revocation order because the probationer violated the trial court's instructions despite repeated warnings). As the trial court explained to Williams at his first revocation hearing, avoidance of further criminal activity does not, by itself, justify the continuance of probation; an offender must also show his commitment to rehabilitation by substantial compliance with the obligations imposed by probation. See id. (collectively recognizing the offender's failure to pursue rehabilitation as a factor justifying revocation).
Williams further argues the trial court clearly abused its discretion by ordering revocation before it exhausted noncustodial treatment options. However, nothing requires a trial court to pursue every conceivable treatment alternative before ordering revocation. See State v. Corder, 772 P.2d 1231, 1232-33 (Idaho Ct. App. 1989) (rejecting a probationer's claim that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering revocation instead of chemical dependency treatment); State v. Requena, 788 P.2d 287, 289 (Kan. Ct. App. 1990) (same), review denied (Kan. June 5, 1990). Rather, the trial court may permit the continuation of treatment efforts only if they are consistent with the public's interest in rehabilitation. See Austin, 295 N.W.2d at 250 (noting the trial court must weigh both the offender's and the public's interests in deciding whether to revoke probation). In this regard, the record establishes: (1) at sentencing, the trial court admonished Williams to take his addiction seriously, respond with candor to his chemical dependency evaluation, and comply with mandatory urinalysis or face execution of his sentence; (2) Williams's failure to submit to urinalysis, which prompted the trial court to order chemical dependency treatment in the workhouse followed by residence in a halfway house; (3) shortly after completing the initial phase of treatment and moving to the halfway house, Williams violated his probation a second time by not returning from a pass; (4) at the request of his probation officer, the trial court granted Williams "one more chance" and continued his probation with an additional 36 days in the workhouse and a warning that it would not tolerate further violations; (5) in the workhouse, a counselor agreed to help Williams seek admission to an inpatient facility if he found compliance unduly difficult after release; (6) upon leaving the workhouse Williams did not avail himself of this offer, but absconded from the halfway house almost immediately; and (7) Williams acknowledges it would be difficult for him to control his addiction following a three- to four-week inpatient program. Given these facts, we cannot say the trial court clearly abused its discretion by recognizing the failure of Williams's rehabilitation efforts and the corresponding need for the revocation of his probation. See id. at 251 (affirming a revocation order because the offender's lack of commitment to rehabilitation reasonably supported a conclusion that treatment had failed); see also State v. Hass, 758 P.2d 713, 717 (Idaho Ct. App. 1988) (affirming a revocation order issued after the offender's third probation violation and noting the trial court's observation that the offender's counterproductive behavior rendered adherence to probation requirements difficult).