PEOPLE OF MI V NATHANIEL ROBERTSONAnnotate this Case
STATE OF MICHIGAN
COURT OF APPEALS
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN,
December 22, 1998
LC No. 93-000567
Before: Doctoroff, P.J., and Sawyer and Fitzgerald, JJ.
Following a bench trial, defendant was convicted of unarmed robbery, MCL 750.530; MSA
28.798. He pleaded guilty to being an habitual offender, third offense, MCL 769.11; MSA 28.1083.
The court sentenced defendant to three to fifteen years’ imprisonment for unarmed robbery, but that
sentence was vacated. Defendant was also sentenced to three to fifteen years’ imprisonment as an
habitual offender. The trial court subsequently denied defendant’s motion for resentencing. He appeals
as of right. We affirm.
Defendant had two previous convictions for armed robbery as well as one conviction for assault
and one for possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He had four misconducts from
his most recent prison stint. At sentencing, Judge Sapala stated that he believed defendant was a
different man than he had been four years earlier when this crime was committed. The judge was
“bothered” that the 1,261 days defendant had served would be credited only to his parole case. He
stated that if this case had been finished three years ago, the parole board might have acted and
defendant could have then begun serving this time before the sentencing date. The sentencing guidelines
for unarmed robbery are five to ten years, but the judge took the above factors into consideration when
he decided to vacate the unarmed robbery sentence, and sentence defendant to three to fifteen years as
an habitual offender.
Defendant argues that the original sentence was invalid because it was based on a
misconception of law. If a sentence is invalid, the defendant is entitled to resentencing. People v Lino
(After Remand), 213 Mich App 89, 99; 539 NW2d 545 (1995), overruled on other grounds, People
v Carson, 220 Mich App 662; 560 NW2d 657 (1996). A sentence is invalid if the trial court bases
the sentence on a misconception of the law. People v Miles, 454 Mich 90, 96; 559 NW2d 299
The misconception of law in this case, defendant claims, is that the judge thought that defendant
would serve only three years if he sentenced defendant to a three-year minimum term.
However, the court’s stated reasons for sentencing defendant as it did do not support
defendant’s contention. There is no reason to think that the judge “intended” defendant to walk out of
prison on any particular date, nor that the judge was under the impression that the sentence he imposed
would require defendant to be released at any particular time. Therefore, we believe that the judge was
not laboring under any misconception of law when he sentenced defendant to three to fifteen years for
habitual offender third.
We also note that the court could have sentenced defendant to a term twice the statutory
maximum for the underlying unarmed robbery. MCL 769.11(1)(a); MSA 28.1083(1)(a). The
statutory maximum for unarmed robbery is fifteen years. MCL 750.530; MSA 28.798; People v
Smith, 195 Mich App 147, 149; 489 NW2d 135 (1992). The sentence the trial court imposed is
proportionate and valid and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining the sentence, nor
err in denying defendant’s motion for resentencing.
/s/ Martin M. Doctoroff
/s/ David H. Sawyer
/s/ E. Thomas Fitzgerald