State of Minnesota, Respondent, vs. Rodney J. Jedlicka, Appellant.
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STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Rodney J. Jedlicka,
Filed April 15, 2008
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 03028892
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul,
MN 55101-2134; and
Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Thomas A. Weist, Assistant County
Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, 300 S. 6th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for
Lawrence Hammerling, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Frank R. Gallo, Jr., Assistant
State Public Defender, 540 Fairview Avenue North, Suite 300, St. Paul, MN 55104 (for
Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Klaphake, Judge; and
When the predatory offender registration statute, Minn. Stat. § 243.166
(2002), is amended to exclude an offender’s conduct as an offense subject to registration,
and the amendment becomes effective after the offender receives valid notice to register
but before his actual registration is required upon his release from prison, the offender is
not required to register as a predatory offender.
When a district court orders a convicted person to register as a predatory
offender at the time of sentencing under Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 1(a)(3) (2002), and
later amendments to that statute allow only the Commissioner of Corrections to
determine whether an offender should register, the district court nevertheless has the
authority to modify its original registration order.
Appellant Rodney Jedlicka was notified by the district court at sentencing that he
was subject to the predatory offender registration requirement of Minn. Stat. § 243.166
(2002) after he committed first-degree burglary in 2003 with criminal sexual conduct as
its goal. An amendment to Minn. Stat. § 243.166 (2006) excluded appellant’s conduct
from the predatory offender registration requirement before he was actually required to
register upon release from prison. He claims that the statutory amendment should apply
retroactively and that he should be relieved of the registration obligation.
postconviction court ruled that the amended predatory offender statute could not be
applied retroactively. We reverse and modify appellant’s sentencing order to exclude the
predatory offender registration notice.
On April 24, 2003, appellant Rodney Jedlicka entered an occupied home in
Brooklyn Park and took money from a purse. At his plea hearing, he entered a straight
plea to first-degree burglary, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.582, subd. 1(a) (2002). For
purposes of seeking a downward dispositional departure at sentencing, appellant admitted
that he had a long history of voyeurism and that the burglary was prompted by his sexual
impulses: he admitted that he entered the residence in order to get a better view of its
occupant sunbathing on the porch.
Appellant’s admission that the offense was motivated by his sexual impulses finds
further support in a presentence investigation, a psychological evaluation, and a sex
offender evaluation. The presentence investigation report outlines a criminal history that
demonstrates a pattern of similar conduct, including a 1990 felony burglary conviction
where appellant entered a private home to view through a window a woman sunbathing
outside, and three misdemeanor offenses, two involving interference with privacy, and
one involving obscene/harassing conduct.
At sentencing, the district court imposed a 39-month executed sentence and found
that appellant was required to register as a predatory offender for ten years under Minn.
Stat. § 243.166 (2002). After noting appellant’s criminal history and other facts pertinent
to his history of voyeurism, the court found that appellant’s motivation for the current
offense was not only to commit a residential burglary, but also to achieve sexual
gratification, stating, “You didn’t touch her I grant you that, but it is still a sex offense[,]
and so I’m sentencing you as a sex offender.” The court notified appellant that he would
“have to register as a sex offender” and “give your DNA.”
Appellant did not file a direct appeal of his conviction, but after he was released
from prison on April 13, 2006, he petitioned the district court for a postconviction
sentence clarification and correction.
The motion was premised in part on a 2005
amendment to Minn. Stat. § 243.166, under which appellant’s burglary offense would not
require registration as a predatory offender. The postconviction court denied the petition,
concluding that the underlying facts supported appellant’s predatory offender designation
and that the 2005 amendment to the predatory offender statute could not be applied
Does Minn. Stat. § 243.166 (2006) apply retroactively to relieve appellant
from the obligation to register as a predatory offender?
Does the district court have the authority to modify its order requiring
appellant to register as a predatory offender?
“On review of postconviction decisions, we extend a broad review of both
questions of law and fact.” State v. Ferguson, 742 N.W.2d 651, 659 (Minn. 2007); see
White v. State, 711 N.W.2d 106, 109 (Minn. 2006) (“[o]n review of a postconviction
decision, this court determines whether there is sufficient evidence to support the
postconviction court’s findings”). This court will reverse a postconviction decision only
for an abuse of discretion, and while we give de novo review to its legal determinations,
we will reverse its factual findings only if clearly erroneous. Schleicher v. State, 718
N.W.2d 440, 445 (Minn. 2006).
The district court “abuses its discretion if it
misinterprets or misapplies the law.” Johnson v. State, 733 N.W.2d 834, 836 (Minn.
App. 2007), review denied (Minn. Sept. 18, 2007).
Appellant challenges his designation as a predatory offender, claiming that the
district court lacked authority to make the designation; his underlying conduct would not
obligate him to register under current law; and only the current registration statute should
apply to him.
Based on the predatory offender statute in existence at the time of
appellant’s offense, we conclude that the district court had the authority to notify
appellant that he should register as a predatory offender, but we also conclude that the
current version of the statute, which would not require his registration, applies
retroactively to him.
Appellant first contends that the district court improperly included the registration
requirement as part of his sentence and that the determination that he is a person who
should register as a predatory offender could be made only by the Commissioner of
Corrections, because the registration requirement is regulatory rather than criminal. At
the time of his offense, Minn. Stat § 243.166 (2002) generally defined the conduct that
mandated registration as a predatory offender by reference to the underlying offense, but
subdivision 1(a)(3) also allowed the district court to determine that a person should
register if “the court found on its own motion or that of the prosecutor that the crime was
part of a predatory pattern of behavior that had criminal sexual conduct as its goal[.]”
This language is contrary to appellant’s claim that “[t]here is no . . . statutory provision in
section 243.166 . . . that allows a district court any other authority over the predatory
offender mechanism.” Thus, under the law in effect at the time of appellant’s offense, the
district court had authority to determine whether appellant qualified for registration as a
predatory offender. The court also had the duty to notify appellant that he was required
to register. Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 2 (“When a person who is required to register
under subdivision 1, paragraph (a), is sentenced . . . the court shall tell the person of the
duty to register”); see Kaiser v. State, 641 N.W.2d 900, 907 (Minn. 2002) (noting that
“notice [of registration requirement] can be provided by an employee of the Department
of Corrections, an executive branch agency, if the court fails to do so”).1
Appellant also contends that the district court improperly included the registration
requirement as part of his sentence.
See id. (ruling predatory offender registration
requirement is not part of sentencing). The district court stated that it was “sentencing
[appellant] as a sex offender,” but the court’s sentencing order did no more than include
notice of the registration requirement, as the court was required to do. See Minn. Stat.
§ 243.166, subd. 2. The postconviction court, with the same judge presiding as the
sentencing judge, stated that its initial order requiring appellant to register “will stand as
ordered in my original sentence.” Under these circumstances, we conclude that the
registration requirement was not a part of appellant’s sentence but was properly included
in the sentencing order. The district court’s action was in conformance with the statute,
Appellant challenges the district court’s findings supporting the registration order.
Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. (3) (2002), mandates registration as a predatory offender if
the court finds “that the crime was part of a predatory pattern of behavior that had
criminal sexual conduct as its goal[.]” The district court found that appellant’s conduct
was motivated by “a predatory pattern of behavior that had sexual conduct as its goal.”
While the district court’s registration determination did not track the exact language of
Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. (3), it relied on appellant’s prior behavior, the details of the
current offense, and appellant’s criminal intent. The court found that the crime was
committed for sexual gratification and that it was a sex crime. The record supports these
findings, and, contrary to appellant’s claim, we conclude that these findings are
which states that the district court must give notice of the registration requirement when
the offender “is sentenced[.]” Id.
Appellant next contends that the amended version of Minn. Stat. § 243.166 should
be applied retroactively to relieve him of the duty to register as a predatory offender.
Appellant’s burglary conviction would not support designation as a predatory offender
under the current statute, which now sets forth with particularity each type of offense to
which the registration requirement applies. Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 1b (2006).
Further, the current statute no longer allows a district court the discretion to determine
“upon its own motion” that an offender should register when the offender commits an
offense that does not specifically qualify for registration. Id. These statutes became
effective on June 3, 2005. See 2005 Minn. Laws ch. 136, art. 3, § 8.
The question then becomes whether the amended statute should be applied
retroactively to appellant. Case law has upheld retroactive application of amendments to
section 243.166. In State v. Lilleskov, 658 N.W.2d 904, 907-08 (Minn. App. 2003), this
court applied the statute retroactively to defendants who had committed qualifying
juvenile offenses before the effective date of a 1994 amendment that required the
registration of juvenile sex offenders. In discussing the retroactive application of the
amendment, this court stated that, by its operation, the statute applies retroactively
because it requires registration upon an offender’s release into the community “without
regard to the date of his conviction.” Id. The court noted that similar laws “adopted
around the country have been applied retroactively, either through explicit language or by
judicial interpretation.” Id. The court further noted that the “duty to register based on a
status that is triggered by an earlier act, can hardly be understood except as applied
retroactively.” Id.; see State v. Manning, 532 N.W.2d 244, 247-48 (Minn. App. 1995)
(allowing retroactive application of predatory offender statute to those convicted of sex
offenses prior to statute’s effective date), review denied (Minn. July 20, 1995).
Because case law has approved retroactive application of amendments to this
statute in other contexts, we are persuaded that the determination of those who are
required to register should be defined by the 2005 amendment rather than by the earlier
statutory language. This application of section 243.166 allows the legislature to enlarge
or reduce the group of offender registrants as necessary to effectuate the purpose of the
statute, “to create an offender registry to assist in law enforcement investigations.”
Kaiser, 641 N.W.2d at 905. We therefore conclude that Minn. Stat. § 243.166 (2006)
applies retroactively to relieve appellant from the obligation to register as a predatory
Respondent claims that this matter may not be heard by this court because
appellant improperly filed a postconviction petition to correct his sentence rather than a
declaratory action against the Commissioner of Corrections to challenge the statutory
registration requirement under Minn. Stat. § 243.166.
Appellant was sentenced on
February 27, 2004, and his sentence became final 90 days after. See Minn. R. Crim. P.
28.05. Appellant did not challenge the district court order requiring registration until
June 20, 2006, after his release from prison.
Regarding the timeliness of the petition, appellate courts have heard otherwise
untimely postconviction petitions, under various circumstances, when to do so is in the
interests of justice. In James v. State, 699 N.W.2d 723, 727-28 (Minn. 2005), the
supreme court considered the merits of a postconviction petition to challenge a plea
where the petition was filed 39 months after conviction, but the petitioner had not been
informed of a statutorily required term of conditional release at the time of the plea. In its
analysis, the James court enumerated other cases in which delays of up to 33 years
existed but did not preclude relief, stating that although “timeliness is a factor in
evaluating plea withdrawal petitions, we have elected in the great majority of cases to
substantively review petitions on the merits—regardless of their timeliness—if the issues
raised have not previously received substantive review.” Id. at 731. Appellant did not
file a direct appeal because at the time of his designation as a predatory offender, he had
no legal basis for challenging the designation. It would be illogical to require appellant to
challenge the district court’s decision to give him notice of the registration requirement at
the time of his designation as a predatory offender when the amendment to Minn. Stat. §
243.166 that retroactively relieved him of the registration requirement did not come into
effect until after he was sentenced but before he was subject to actual registration upon
release from prison.
Respondent also argues that even if the petition is construed as timely, the
offender registration requirement was not a part of appellant’s sentence and is therefore
not appealable as a sentencing issue.
It is well established in Minnesota that the
requirement to register as a predatory offender is not punitive or a sentencing issue, but
rather a civil and regulatory matter, the purpose of which is to “increase public safety by
requiring a specific class of offenders to provide information to law enforcement
authorities to assist in keeping track of them.” Kaiser, 641 N.W.2d at 906. But by terms
of the 2002 statute, the legislature allowed the district courts to give predatory offenders
notice of the registration requirement at the time of sentencing. Minn. Stat. § 243.166,
subd. 1(3) (2002). Here, the order for registration was a part of the sentencing order, and
it is from this order that the appeal must be taken.
Respondent further argues that this matter is exclusively one for the Commissioner
of Corrections, because the district court has no current statutory authority to determine
whether appellant is subject to predatory offender registration and thus may not modify
its original order requiring appellant to register.
Appellant counters that the
Commissioner of Corrections lacks authority to modify a district court order.
Unfortunately, this case presents a tangled and peculiar procedural posture, the subject of
which has not been addressed in Minnesota case law.2
We are persuaded by the
fundamental principle that an order issued by a district court must generally be
reviewable by the district court. See Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02 (allowing the district court to
grant a party relief from an order or grant other relief as may be just for “any . . . reason
In Kaiser v. State, 641 N.W.2d 900, 902 (Minn. 2002), the supreme court determined
whether a postconviction petitioner could claim lack of notice of the registration
requirement as a basis for withdrawal of a guilty plea. But a Minnesota appellate court
has only considered a direct challenge to the registration requirement after it was first
raised to the Department of Corrections. Boutin v. LaFleur, 591 N.W.2d 711, 714 (Minn.
1999) (addressing predatory offender registration requirement in appeal brought by
released prisoner seeking declaratory judgment against Commissioner of Corrections to
enjoin commissioner from requiring him to register).
justifying relief from operation of the [order]”). Thus, we conclude that the district court
had the authority to address a challenge to its order because it issued the original order
containing the provision that gave appellant notice that he was required to register as a
We reverse the district court’s postconviction decision and modify appellant’s
sentencing order to exclude the requirement that he register as a predatory offender.
Respondent moves to strike any references in appellant’s brief to “determinations and
actions of the Department of Corrections,” including the assignment of a corrections
agent to his case, as outside the record. Appellant’s brief states that a corrections agent
was assigned to his case, but he does not provide the specific date of assignment. We
strike appellant’s reference to any facts regarding actions of the Department of
Corrections that are not part of the district court record. See Minn R. Civ. App. P. 110.01
(defining composition of record on appeal as “papers filed in the trial court, the exhibits,
and the transcript of the proceedings, if any”).