State ex rel. Young v. Schnell, A17-1741

Decision Date24 March 2021
Docket NumberA17-1741
Citation956 N.W.2d 652
Parties STATE of Minnesota, EX REL. Robert A. YOUNG, Appellant, v. Paul SCHNELL, Commissioner of Corrections, Respondent.
CourtMinnesota Supreme Court

GILDEA, Chief Justice.

The question in this case is whether appellant Robert Young, a Level III predatory offender currently serving the conditional release term of his sentence, is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus. Young seeks reversal of the Department of Corrections's revocation of his conditional release and an order preventing the Department from using his inability to maintain an agent-approved placement due to his epilepsy as a basis for future revocations of his conditional release.

The district court denied Young's petition for a writ of habeas corpus, finding that Young's disability was not the sole reason for his continued incarceration. Young appealed, but because the Department released him shortly after his brief was filed, the court of appeals held that Young's appeal is moot. State ex rel. Young v. Roy (Young I) , No. A17-1741, 2018 WL 2407259, at *3–4 (Minn. App. May 29, 2018), rev. granted (Minn. Aug. 21, 2018). We granted Young's petition for review and stayed it pending the resolution of a related case. We then vacated the court of appeals’ decision and remanded for reconsideration. The court of appeals again held that Young's claim is moot. State ex rel. Young v. Schnell (Young II) , No. A17-1741, 2020 WL 614249, at *3 (Minn. App. Feb. 10, 2020), rev. granted (Minn. Apr. 28, 2020). We granted Young's second petition for review.

Because the issues raised in Young's appeal are capable of repetition but may evade review, we reverse the court of appeals’ conclusion that this appeal is moot. Reaching the merits of Young's claims, we further hold that: (1) the Department's use of review hearings is lawful; (2) the Department did not violate Young's substantive due process rights when it revoked Young's conditional release and extended his reincarceration through review hearings; (3) the Department did not violate the rule of law set forth in State ex rel. Marlowe v. Fabian , 755 N.W.2d 792 (Minn. App. 2008) ; and (4) a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12132, cannot be asserted in a habeas petition. We therefore affirm in part and reverse in part the decision of the court of appeals.


In 2012, Young was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in Dakota County and sentenced to 32 months in prison plus a 10-year conditional release term. Young's conditional release term began in 2014 and ends in 2025. Young challenges actions the Department of Corrections took in connection with his conditional release term. Before turning specifically to those challenges, it is helpful to examine the process and rules applicable to conditional release.

In Minnesota, a prison sentence consists of two terms: a prison term and a supervised release term. Minn. Stat. § 244.101, subd. 1 (2020). Predatory offenders must also complete an additional term of conditional release. See, e.g. , Minn. Stat. § 609.3455, subds. 6–7 (2020). The conditional release term for a Level III predatory offender, like Young, is governed by the rules for Intensive Supervised Release ("ISR"), which require in relevant part that an offender reside in agent-approved housing while on release. Minn. Stat. §§ 244.05, subd. 6(a), .15, subd. 3 (2020). If an offender violates the conditions of his or her conditional release, the Department may revoke the offender's release and re-incarcerate the offender "for the appropriate period of time" not to "exceed the period of time remaining in the [offender's] sentence." Minn. Stat. § 244.05, subd. 3(2) (2020).

When an offender violates ISR conditions, the offender's supervising agent from the Department of Corrections investigates the alleged violation and, if grounds exist to begin the revocation process, files a termination report with the Department's Hearings and Release Unit ("Hearings Unit"). Minn. R. 2940.3900 (2019). If the Hearings Unit decides to begin revocation proceedings, that unit notifies the supervising agent and the State Public Defender's Office. Minn. R. 2940.4100 (2019). The supervising agent then gives the offender a copy of the violation report and informs the offender of his right to either admit the violation or request a revocation hearing. Minn. R. 2940.4200 (2019). If the offender requests a revocation hearing, the offender appears before a Hearings Unit officer and may be represented by counsel of choice or a State Public Defender, may present evidence, and may confront and cross-examine witnesses. Id. ; Minn. R. 2940.3500, 2940.4300 (2019). If the officer finds that a violation has been proven, the officer has the option to reincarcerate the offender and specify a "projected release date." Minn. R. 2940.0100, subp. 21 (2019) (defining the term "projected release date"); see also Minn. R. 2940.3800 (2019) (describing the Department's practice of setting a "release date" after revoking an offender's conditional release). The Department will then either release the offender on the projected release date or hold a review hearing to address the offender's release planning. The Department's procedures for holding review hearings are not included in the Department's rules or policies.

Turning back to the facts before us, Young filed a habeas petition in 2017. Before that time, Young's conditional release had been revoked on five separate occasions.

Four of these revocations, including the two revocations being challenged here, followed Young's termination from his residential placement due to his failure to complete the placement's residential programming, a specific condition of Young's release.

Young was first released in October 2014 to RS Eden-Ashland in Ramsey County. A month after his release, RS Eden terminated his placement for failure to complete residential programming and for "sexually abusive behaviors." Based on this termination, Young's agent from the Department filed a violation report that alleged that Young touched another RS Eden client in a sexually inappropriate manner. In the subsequent revocation hearing, the Hearings Unit revoked Young's conditional release and reincarcerated him. Young's predatory offender risk assessment was increased from Level II to Level III before he was released.

Young's second release was in June 2015. He was released to 180 Degrees’ residential treatment program. His agent filed a violation report in September 2015, alleging that he had failed to inform her of his residence and activities. Young's release was revoked for 90 days or less.

Young was released a third time in November 2015, again to 180 Degrees. Two months later, his agent filed a violation report alleging that Young failed to complete residential programming. He had been terminated from 180 Degrees because he failed to maintain medication compliance, failed to attend all medical and mental health appointments, failed to spend 40 hours per week working or searching for work, and failed to secure agent-approved housing. At his subsequent revocation hearing, the Hearings Unit officer found these violations "willful and inexcusable" and revoked Young's conditional release for 120 days.

Young was then released to Alpha Human Services in May 2016. The revocations being challenged in this appeal occurred shortly thereafter in July 2016 and September 2016.

In a violation report filed in July 2016, Young's agent alleged that Young violated his release because he failed to complete residential programming at Alpha Human Services. The report stated that Young "isolated himself and refused to engage in treatment." Young's agent discussed Young's behavioral issues, poor attitude, lack of participation in treatment, as well as his self-harm and suicidal ideation. The report details an incident in which Young was hospitalized after he intentionally burned his arms with a lighter and contemplated using his GPS charger to harm himself. Young's agent also explains how she, along with Young's therapist and supervisor, "confronted [Young] on his poor attitude, lack of participation in treatment, and his preoccupation with getting a transfer to Georgia to live with his brother."1 In addition to all of these issues, the report detailed that Young "had seizures multiple times per week." Ultimately, the violation alleged was Young's failure to complete the residential programming at Alpha Human Services.

The Hearings Unit held a revocation hearing in July 2016. Young's conditional release was revoked and he was re-incarcerated for 30 days. In August 2016, Young was released from prison for a fifth time to 180 Degrees.

In a violation report filed in September 2016, Young's agent again alleged that Young failed to complete programming. The report noted that "Mr. Young had an extremely difficult adjustment to treatment and as a result, he suffered stress-related seizures, per medical personnel, multiple times per week. His medical issues and suicidal ideation

which resulted in many hospital visits, combined with a resistance to participate in group treatment in any way resulted in his termination." In a termination report, Young's case manager from 180 Degrees further explained that "[w]hile in the program [Young's] health was a huge barrier that prevented him from success. [He] was hospitalized on the following dates: 08/15/2016, 08/20/2016, 08/26/2016, 08/27/2016, 08/30/2016, and 09/06/2016. It is recommended that [Young] be placed in an inpatient institution where his health can be monitored."

But Young's agent from the Department also noted that, as with previous releases, Young had issues maintaining medication compliance and that "although Mr. Young does have medical issues beyond his control, he has minimal seizures while in a jail or prison setting and had far fewer seizures while at 180 Degrees." Finally, Young's agent explained that Young "has had behavioral...

To continue reading

Request your trial
13 cases
  • State v. Montano, A20-0756
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court
    • 24 Marzo 2021
  • Husten v. Schnell
    • United States
    • Minnesota Court of Appeals
    • 13 Diciembre 2021 scope and "not available when there is some other regular legal procedure to remedy the alleged wrong." State ex rel. Young v. Schnell , 956 N.W.2d 652, 674 (Minn. 2021). Section 1983 provides a federal civil action to challenge deprivation of constitutional rights under color of state l......
  • Rued v. Rued
    • United States
    • Minnesota Court of Appeals
    • 27 Junio 2022
    ...order and May 2021 order superseded the March 2020 order about which father now complains. Father's argument is therefore moot.[21] Schnell, 956 N.W.2d at 662 ("An appeal must be dismissed as moot when a decision the merits is no longer necessary or an award of effective relief is no longer......
  • Husten v. Schnell
    • United States
    • Minnesota Court of Appeals
    • 13 Diciembre 2021
    ...scope and "not available when there is some other regular legal procedure to remedy the alleged wrong." State ex rel. Young v. Schnell, 956 N.W.2d 652, 674 (Minn. 2021). Section 1983 provides a federal civil action to challenge deprivation of constitutional rights under color of state law. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT