An unpublished Minnesota Court of Appeals case filed February 21, 2012 that resulted in a reversal and remand because the record surrounding the Defendant’s plea wasn’t properly developed brought forth an interesting distinction for in-state vs. out-of-state predatory offenses.
The case, State of Minnesota v. Gary Lee Hanson involved a 1996 conviction from California. Hanson was charged with rape, misdemeanor indecent exposure, and first-degree burglary. The rape charge was dismissed, but Hanson was convicted of misdemeanor indecent exposure and first-degree burglary. When Hanson moved to Minnesota in 2004, he registered with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) as a predatory offender. He was incarcerated for a different offense committed in Minnesota in 2009, and when he was paroled in January of 2010, Hanson registered his change of address with the BCA. Hanson moved into a halfway house in April of 2010 but did not register the halfway house as his new address. Hanson was reported and charged as an unregistered predatory offender.
In Minnesota, predatory offenders are required to register any new address with the local law enforcement, the offender’s corrections officer, and the BCA five days before the offender begins living at the address. Registration periods vary depending on the severity of the offense and the person’s sentence, but registration is required for a 10-year minimum period to lifetime. Failure to register or to update registration records typically results in an additional five year registration requirement as well as potential incarceration for up to 2-years.
Hanson plead guilty to the unregistered predatory offender charge. While entering the plea, Hanson admitted that he knew he was required to register as a predatory offender and that he had not done so. The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction and remanded the matter back to the district court because there was no verification prior to Hanson entering the plea that he was even required to register as a predatory offender. The district court, the State, and even Hanson simply assumed he was required to register as a predatory offender.
In Minnesota, a predatory offender registration is required if there was a conviction that arose out of the same set of circumstances as a charged offense that requires registration. Presumably all parties assumed registration was required because if Hanson had been charged in Minnesota, he would have been required to register as a predatory offender. The misdemeanor indecent exposure conviction does not require registration, but because the conviction arose out of the same set of circumstances as a rape charge that does require registration, registration would have been required even though the rape charge was dismissed.
The way Minnesota statues are written, the requirement for predatory offender registration for out-of-state convictions arising out of the same set of circumstances does not apply. If a person is charged out-of-state with a crime that requires predatory offender registration, but is convicted of another charge not requiring registration, the person may not necessarily be required to register even though the conviction arose out of the same set of circumstances. Rather, the courts are required to compare the elements of the out-of-state offense with Minnesota law to determine if registration is required. The district court in Hanson’s case did not make specific findings as to whether he was required to register for the out-of-state conviction. Therefore, the Court of Appeals allowed Hanson to withdraw his plea, thereby reversing his conviction. The case was sent back to the district court to determine if Hanson is required to register as a predatory offender.
Charges requiring predatory offender registration even when dismissed may still require registration. Do not be caught off-guard, contact a knowledgeable Twin Cities criminal defense attorney for a free consultation.