may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Manuel Enrique Muro-Martinez,
Filed June 24, 1997
Olmsted County District Court
File No. K9961278
Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent)
Raymond F. Schmitz, Olmsted County Attorney, David S. Voigt, Assistant County Attorney, Government Center, 151 Southeast Fourth Street, Rochester, MN 55904 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Sharon E. Jacks, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Parker, Presiding Judge, Toussaint, Chief Judge, and Harten, Judge.
Muro-Martinez appeals from his sentence, arguing that mistakes in calculating his criminal history score require a reduction in his sentence. We affirm.
Principles of contract law apply to plea agreements. State v. Spaeth, 552 N.W.2d 187, 194 (Minn. 1996). While courts will temper contract principles because of the constitutional implications of criminal proceedings, Muro-Martinez does not challenge his guilty plea, and his appeal does not raise constitutional concerns. See id. (applying contract principles to agreement; no concern that confession was involuntary); cf. State v. Givens, 544 N.W.2d 774, 777 n.5 (Minn. 1996) (no waiver concern if sentence that departs from guidelines is part of otherwise constitutional plea agreement). Instead, Muro-Martinez argues that the sentence he agreed to was miscalculated and should be reduced. The trial court rejected his argument and found that he specifically agreed to the 64-month sentence.
The record supports the trial court's finding. While acknowledging some uncertainty as to the exact criminal history score, appellant's counsel repeatedly stated the parties' agreement as to duration during the guilty-plea hearing.
[T]he plea is conditioned * * * that he have one or less criminal history points before the two convictions are counted. It's our belief from both sides that he has one point going into this plea, and if you sentenced according to this agreement, we would be looking at a presumptive sentence of * * * 64 [months] being the low end.
At the sentencing hearing, appellant's counsel stated:
The agreement in this case is that you sentence him to the low end * * * which is 64 months, which would not be a departure in this case. That would be a presumptive sentence in this case. We ask the Court to follow that recommendation for the reason that it was negotiated between the parties and we feel it is a fair resolution in this case.
Before he was sentenced, Muro-Martinez received the presentence investigation and criminal history worksheets that he now argues contain errors that require modifying his sentence. He agreed not only to the sentence, but also to the criminal history score used to arrive at it. The following exchange occurred at the sentencing hearing:
The court: I have received the report from Court Services. * * * The sentencing worksheet * * * shows a severity level seven with a criminal history score of two, and a presumptive commit to the Commissioner of Corrections for a period of 68 months. Do you note any errors or omissions in the PSI or the worksheets?
* * * *
Mr. Wright [Muro-Martinez's trial counsel]: No, your honor.
These statements by Muro-Martinez's counsel support the trial court's interpretation of the parties' agreement. The trial court properly disregarded Muro-Martinez's later attempt to change the parties' agreement when he had not objected to the duration or method of calculation at the earlier hearings. See Metropolitan Sports Facilities Comm'n v. General Mills, Inc., 470 N.W.2d 118, 123 (Minn. 1991) (court's role in interpreting contract is to ascertain and give effect to the parties' intent; party cannot alter language of agreement with speculation of unexpressed intent); cf. Givens, 544 N.W.2d at 776 (holding that, as part of plea agreement, defendants may relinquish their right to be sentenced under guidelines). Muro-Martinez's argument would discourage plea agreements that are specific as to sentence duration. Specificity as to duration should be encouraged, to reduce the risks of mistake. Cf. State v. DeZeler, 427 N.W. 2d 231, 235 (Minn. 1988) (parties' mutual mistake as to defendant's criminal history score entitled defendant to withdraw plea); see State v. Garcia, C0-95-2612 (Minn. App. June 4, 1996).