This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. §480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




State of Minnesota,



Max Wilmot Wakefield,


Filed June 16, 1998

Reversed and remanded for further proceedings,

Amundson, Judge

Washington County District Court

File No. K1-96-308

Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101, Thomas Foley, Washington County Attorney, Jay A. Brunner, Assistant Washington County Attorney, 14900 61st Street North, Stillwater, MN 55082 (for appellant)

Craig E. Cascarano, 2890 Lincoln Centre, 333 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondent)

Considered and decided by Amundson, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Shumaker, Judge.



The state challenges the district court's stay of adjudication, over the prosecutor's objection, stating there was no clear abuse of prosecutorial discretion in charging and no special circumstances warranted the stay of adjudication. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.


The Cottage Grove Police Department received a referral from Hennepin County Social Services (a mandatory reporting agency) regarding a sexual abuse and neglect report involving a minor child, J.W.W. Cottage Grove police investigator Randy Stricker conducted an interview with J.W.W. A felony complaint charging respondent Max W. Wakefield (J.W.W.'s grandfather) with criminal sexual conduct was drafted and signed by the Washington County Attorney's office. At an omnibus hearing, Wakefield waived omnibus issues, probable cause was found on the complaint, and Wakefield entered a not guilty plea. Following several continuances, the district court conducted an in camera review of the victim's counseling records, school records, and personal diary. At a subsequent motion hearing, the district court ordered the release of certain documents.

On the scheduled jury trial date, the case was transferred for purposes of a plea. Wakefield entered a guilty plea to count one, second-degree criminal sexual conduct, in exchange for counts two and three being dismissed. Wakefield's counsel indicated he would seek a stay of adjudication while the state indicated it would ask for a guideline sentence.

At the sentencing hearing, the state urged the judge to follow the recommendations of court services, taking special note that the recommendation of a stay of adjudication was identified as inappropriate in this instance. Following the state's objection to the stay of adjudication, the court stated, "That's fine. Thank you. What we'll do, I am going to stay adjudication here under the following conditions * * *." The court also dismissed counts two and three. This appeal followed.


The state challenges the district court's decision that this case presents special circumstances warranting a stay of adjudication. The charging function is typically within the broad discretion of the prosecutor and it should not be subject to interference by the district court. State v. Foss, 556 N.W.2d 540, 540 (Minn. 1996). A district court, however, may stay an adjudication over the prosecutor's objection if the case exhibits "special circumstances." State v. Krotzer, 548 N.W.2d 252, 254 (Minn. 1996).

Here, while the district court did not specifically state what special circumstances it was relying on to stay adjudication, the court stated that it was going to stay adjudication under certain conditions. This case is clearly distinguishable from the Krotzer decision. In Krotzer, the defendant was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 609.344, subd. 1(b) (1994). Krotzer, who was 19, engaged in consensual sexual intercourse with his girlfriend, who was 14 when they began having sex. The state and Krotzer were unable to reach a plea agreement; therefore, Krotzer pleaded guilty and requested the court to stay adjudication. Over the state's objection, the district court sentenced Krotzer to the stay of adjudication. The supreme court affirmed this court's recognition that special circumstances of the case warranted the stay of adjudication, stating that requiring Krotzer to register as a predatory sex offender[1] "would not appear to be appropriate in this case because there is no history of aggressiveness, or any aggressiveness in the present offense." Krotzer, 548 N.W.2d at 253. The Krotzer case represented a quite unique fact situation which warranted what the supreme court termed "unusual judicial measures." Id. at 254. The Krotzer court stated that:

Although the court did not act pursuant to any express Minnesota rule or statute, its decision to stay adjudication of Krotzer's charge instead of accepting his guilty plea fell within the "inherent judicial power" we have repeatedly recognized, and was necessary to the furtherance of justice in Krotzer's case.

Id. at 254-55 (footnote omitted).

Here, the complaint, on its face, clearly supports probable cause and nowhere in the proceedings was probable cause questioned. There was no abuse in the charging of the case. The supreme court has stated that

[i]t was not our intention [in Krotzer] that mere disagreement by the trial court with the prosecutor's exercise of the charging discretion would constitute "special circumstances." Rather, it was our intention that the inherent judicial authority recognized in that case be relied upon sparingly and only for the purpose of avoiding an injustice resulting from the prosecutor's clear abuse of discretion in the exercise of the charging function.

Foss, 556 N.W.2d at 541 (emphasis in original). The United States Supreme Court has emphasized that "the decision to prosecute is particularly ill-suited to judicial review." Wayte v. United States, 470 U.S. 598, 607, 105 S. Ct. 1524, 1530 (1985). The Court noted that subjecting prosecutorial decision-making to outside review could undermine the state's effectiveness in law enforcement. Id., 470 U.S. at 607-08, 105 S. Ct. at 1530-31.

Wakefield entered a plea of guilty to the charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The district court's stay of adjudication is not supported by "special circumstances" as required by Krotzer. The facts support the charging decision and Wakefield has made no case that the charging was excessive or inappropriate. There is no evidence that the prosecutor abused her discretion in charging. The district court did not mention any special circumstances, rather the court merely stated it was ordering a stay of adjudication. The district court's decision is not supported by the record.

Reversed and remanded for further proceedings.

[1] Under Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 1 (1994), a person must register as a "predatory offender" if convicted of criminal sexual conduct under the statute with which Krotzer was charged. The law requires a "predatory offender" to comply with the registration requirements for a period of ten years.