may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Scott John Larson, petitioner,
State of Minnesota,
Filed September 30, 1997
Dakota County District Court
File No. K4-94-550
Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Respondent)
James C. Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney, Charles A. Diemer, Chief Deputy County Attorney, Dakota County Judicial Center, 1560 West Highway 55, Hastings, MN 55033 (for Respondent)
Considered and decided by Norton, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Willis, Judge.
Appellant challenges the denial of his petition for postconviction relief. The postconviction court properly concluded that it had no legal basis upon which to modify appellant's partially-executed sentence. We affirm.
After appellant began serving his sentence, he filed a petition for postconviction relief, asking that he be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea or, alternatively, that his sentence be reduced. Following a hearing, the postconviction court denied appellant's petition. The court concluded that it had no legal basis upon which to reduce appellant's partially-executed sentence because Reesman v. State, 449 N.W.2d 489 (Minn. App. 1989), precludes a court from modifying a sentence after its execution.
In Reesman, 449 N.W.2d at 489, the defendant pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of cocaine and was sentenced to an executed term of 22 months. One year after the defendant began serving her sentence, she filed a petition for postconviction relief, requesting a reduction in sentence. Id. She argued that a reduction in her sentence was appropriate due to her completion of chemical dependency and educational programs, her good behavior in prison, her co-defendant's limited probationary sentence, and overcrowding in the prison. Id. at 489-90. The trial court granted her motion. Id. at 490.
This court reversed, adhering to the principle that a trial court has no authority to modify a sentence after the defendant has begun serving it. Id. (citing State v. Hockensmith, 417 N.W.2d 630, 633 (Minn. 1988)). "[M]odification of an executed sentence without express statutory authorization is a legislative rather than judicial function." Id.
In support of his argument that Reesman should be overruled, appellant alleges that a trial court may disregard the sentencing guidelines and modify a sentence, based on State v. Givens, 544 N.W.2d 774, 777 (Minn. 1996). Appellant asserts, "Reesman was overturned by implementation of Givens." Moreover, appellant contends that the legislature's recent enactment allowing dangerous offenders to be incarcerated beyond the sentencing guidelines and up to the statutory maximum sentence recognizes the trial court's authority to disregard sentencing guidelines. See Minn. Stat. § 609.152, subd. 2 (1996) (allowing trial court to impose aggravated durational departure from presumptive imprisonment sentence up to statutory maximum sentence for dangerous offenders).
Appellant has presented no persuasive authority for overturning Reesman. First, appellant's authorities pertain only to departures from the sentencing guidelines. The critical issue facing appellant is not the court's authority to depart from the sentencing guidelines when sentencing, but rather the court's authority to modify an executed sentence. Second, appellant incorrectly asserts that Givens overturned Reesman. Givens, 544 N.W.2d at 777, held only that a criminal defendant may waive his right to be sentenced under the guidelines; it did not address the court's authority to waive sentencing guidelines, nor did it address the Reesman holding that trial courts lack authority to modify an executed sentence. Third, appellant's reliance on Minn. Stat. § 609.152 does not support his position that the trial court should be able to modify an executed sentence. Although the legislature approved the incarceration of dangerous offenders beyond the sentencing guideline maximum, the legislature did not address the trial court's authority to modify a partially-executed sentence. Therefore, the postconviction court did not err in denying appellant's postconviction motion.