825 N.W.2d 140 (Minn.App. 2013), A12-1208, State v. Maddox

Docket Nº:A12-1208.
Citation:825 N.W.2d 140
Opinion Judge:SCHELLHAS, Judge.
Party Name:STATE of Minnesota, Respondent, v. Harry NMN MADDOX, III, a/k/a Coy William Parker, III, Appellant.
Attorney:Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, MN; and Patrick J. Ciliberto, Scott County Attorney, Todd P. Zettler, Assistant County Attorney, Shakopee, MN, for respondent. David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Anders S. Erickson, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, MN, for appellant.
Judge Panel:Considered and decided by SCHELLHAS, Presiding Judge; ROSS, Judge; and RODENBERG, Judge.
Case Date:January 28, 2013
Court:Court of Appeals of Minnesota
 
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Page 140

825 N.W.2d 140 (Minn.App. 2013)

STATE of Minnesota, Respondent,

v.

Harry NMN MADDOX, III, a/k/a Coy William Parker, III, Appellant.

No. A12-1208.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota.

January 28, 2013

Page 141

Syllabus by the Court

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, MN; and Patrick J. Ciliberto, Scott County Attorney, Todd P. Zettler, Assistant

Page 142

County Attorney, Shakopee, MN, for respondent.

David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Anders S. Erickson, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, MN, for appellant.

Considered and decided by SCHELLHAS, Presiding Judge; ROSS, Judge; and RODENBERG, Judge.

OPINION

SCHELLHAS, Judge.

Appellant challenges the district court's denial of relief regarding three restitution orders, arguing that the district court (1) violated appellant's right to counsel by not obtaining a waiver from appellant before allowing him to represent himself and (2) failed to make findings that the state proved the restitution amounts by a preponderance of the evidence. Appellant also presents several pro se arguments. Because we agree that the district court violated appellant's right to counsel, we need not reach the remaining issues, and we reverse and remand for a new restitution hearing.

FACTS

This appeal involves allegations of criminal conduct in two district court files: # 70-CR-11-19238 in which respondent State of Minnesota charged appellant Harry Maddox with two felony counts of check forgery under Minn.Stat. § 609.631, subd. 2 (2002), and one count of issuing a dishonored check under Minn.Stat. § 609.535, subd. 2 (2002); and # 70-CR-11-20256 in which the state charged Maddox with one count of offering a forged check under Minn.Stat. § 609.631, subd. 3 (2010), and one count of theft under Minn.Stat. § 609.52, subd. 2(1) (2010). In the complaint in file # 70-CR-11-20256, the state alleged that " [f]rom May, 2011 through August, 2011, [Maddox] has written and cashed fraudulent checks worth $4,815.05 with twelve different victims in various counties in the State of Minnesota."

In November 2011, at a plea-and-sentencing hearing, Maddox entered a plea agreement that included the following terms: " In 70 CR 11-20256-pg ct 1; dismiss other count; ... dismiss 70 CR 11-19238; exec 13 months to comm'r; CTS; rest'n study on both files, all cts. " 1 (Emphasis added.) And Maddox's counsel stated that the plea agreement included the following:

[O]n ... 70-CR-11-20256 [Maddox] would plead guilty to Count I.... [T]he remaining Count II would be dismissed. And the file embodied by 70-CR-11-19238 would also be dismissed.

The parties agreed to a downward departure of 13 months executed to the Commissioner of Corrections....

There would be a restitution determination made by the commissioner ... on all counts on both files.

(Emphasis added.)

Maddox pleaded guilty to one count of felony check forgery in # 70-CR-11-20256. The district court accepted Maddox's plea, dismissed the remaining counts

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in both files, and sentenced Maddox to 13 months' imprisonment. The following discussion ensued regarding Maddox's restitution obligation:

COURT: ... And then corrections is directed to complete a restitution study to establish the amount of restitution that's to be paid to the victims of this offense.

MADDOX: Thank you, Your Honor.

....

PROSECUTOR: And, Judge, just to make sure, in ... file [# 70-CR-11-19238], it was agreed [Maddox] would also pay restitution to any victim in that one.

COURT: That's my understanding.

On March 15, 2012, the district court issued restitution orders, involving three separate victims, in the amounts of $2,020.65, $164.90, and $3,845.87, totaling $6,031.42. Each of the restitution orders stated: " [I]f you dispute the amount listed above, you have the right to challenge this restitution order by filing a written request with the Court Administrator within 30 days of receiving this order."

Maddox timely challenged the restitution orders under Minn.Stat. § 611A.045, subd. 3(b), which permits a defendant to challenge restitution at a restitution hearing. Maddox appeared at the restitution hearing without counsel. At no time during the hearing did the district court or the prosecutor inform Maddox of his right to counsel, and Maddox did not waive the right.

This appeal follows.

ISSUE

Did Maddox have a right to counsel at the restitution hearing?

ANALYSIS

Arguing that he had a constitutional right to counsel at the restitution hearing that he did not waive, Maddox seeks vacation of restitution orders and a remand to the district court for a new restitution hearing.

Right to Counsel

Maddox argues that the restitution hearing held under section 611A.045, subdivision 3(b), was a critical stage of his prosecution and that the district court violated his right to counsel by conducting the hearing without first obtaining a waiver of his right to counsel. We agree.

The Minnesota Constitution provides that, " [i]n all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right ... to have the assistance of counsel in his defense." Minn. Const. art. I, § 6. Likewise, " [t]he Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as applied to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment, guarantees that, ‘ [i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to ... have the assistance of counsel for his defence.’ " State v. Borg, 806 N.W.2d 535, 545 (Minn.2011) (quoting U.S. Const. amend. VI); see U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1 (" No State shall ... deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law...." ).

The Minnesota Supreme Court has held that " [t]he purpose of the right to counsel is to protect the accused from a conviction resulting from his own ignorance of his legal and constitutional rights." State ex rel. Norgaard v....

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