St. Paul man receives sex crime sentencing break

A man from St. Paul, Minnesota who plead to a sex crime charge will not serve time in prison and instead will be put on probation. The sentencing decision was partly the result of plea agreement and a misunderstanding on the length of a prison sentence for a second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge.

In 2009, a 31-year-old man from St. Paul who is now 33 years old was charged with sexually abusing a female acquaintance. The abuse began when the female was 6 years old. The man later made a plea agreement with the state. Under the terms of the peal agreement the man would plead guilty to second-degree sexual conduct and the charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct would be dropped.

At the time the plea agreement was entered the three parties involved in making the deal including the prosecutor, judge and defense attorney were under the impression the man would be sentenced to seven and one half years in prison for the second-degree charge. After the guilty plea was entered the state learned the sentencing for the second degree charge was three years probation.

When the sentencing mistake was brought to the attention of the prosecutor at a presentence hearing, the state wanted to withdraw from the plea agreement. The state argued that the plea should be withdrawn because all involved parties were mistaken to the true sentencing guideline.

Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the sentence of probation under the plea agreement. According to the Minnesota Supreme Court, after the guilty plea had been entered for the second-degree charge, the plea agreement could not be changed.

Source: Pioneer Press, “After mistake and high court ruling, St. Paul child molester is spared prison sentence,” Emily Gurnon, 8/31/2011

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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