State v. Schnagl, A13–1332.

Decision Date11 February 2015
Docket NumberNo. A13–1332.,A13–1332.
Citation859 N.W.2d 297
PartiesSTATE of Minnesota, Respondent/Cross–Appellant, v. Brian Keith SCHNAGL, a/k/a Brian Keith Schnagel, Appellant/Cross–Respondent.
CourtMinnesota Supreme Court

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and James C. Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney, Tricia A. Loehr, Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Hastings, MN, for respondent/cross-appellant.

Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Chelsie M. Willett, Assistant State Public Defender, Saint Paul, MN, for appellant/cross-respondent.

Angela Behrens, Kelly S. Kemp, Assistant Attorneys General, Saint Paul, MN, for amicus curiae Commissioner of Minnesota Department of Corrections.

OPINION

DIETZEN, Justice.

Appellant Brian Schnagl was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and received a stayed 98–month sentence together with a conditional-release term of 5 years. Following the violation of his probation, Schnagl served two-thirds of the executed sentence and was then placed on supervised release. Schnagl subsequently violated the terms of his supervised release, and the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) revoked his release and ordered him to serve the remaining portion of his executed sentence in custody. The DOC recalculated the expiration date of Schnagl's conditional-release term to reflect the time he had spent in custody for his supervised-release violations. Schnagl filed a motion to correct his sentence under Minn. R.Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9, alleging that the DOC had illegally extended his conditional-release term. In response to Schnagl's motion, the State asserted the district court lacked jurisdiction under Minn. R.Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9, to review the Commissioner of Correction's administrative decision implementing the sentence imposed by the district court because the court could not grant the relief requested. The district court concluded that it had jurisdiction over the matter because Minn. R.Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9, authorizes review of the DOC's administrative decisions implementing a sentence, and then denied the motion to correct Schnagl's sentence on the merits. The court of appeals affirmed.

We conclude that the district court has subject matter jurisdiction over a motion to correct a sentence under Rule 27.03, subdivision 9. But, contrary to the district court's and court of appeals' analyses, such a motion is not the proper procedure to obtain judicial review of the Commissioner's administrative decision implementing the sentence imposed by the district court. Consequently, we affirm the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court's denial of Schnagl's motion to correct his sentence, but we do so without reaching the merits of Schnagl's motion. Specifically, we reject the court of appeals' conclusion that Rule 27.03, subdivision 9, is a proper procedure to obtain judicial review of the Commissioner's administrative decision. Because Schnagl used the wrong procedure, a denial of his motion to correct his sentence was warranted.

In August 2000, Schnagl was adjudicated delinquent by the district court of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Minn.Stat. § 609.342 (2014), and was sentenced to a term of 98 months. The sentence was stayed and Schnagl was placed on probation. In 2004, Schnagl violated the conditions of his probation and the district court executed his 98–month sentence and imposed a 5–year conditional-release term in accordance with Minn.Stat. § 609.109, subd. 7(a) (2000).1 Pursuant to Minn.Stat. § 244.101, subd. 1 (2014), the Commissioner released Schnagl from prison in July 2007, to serve the remaining one-third of his sentence on supervised release in the community.

Schnagl was returned to custody for violating the conditions of his supervised release on two separate occasions. First, Schnagl was arrested for failing to comply with chemical dependency programing and testing in September 2007. A hearing officer found that Schnagl violated the conditions of his supervised release, and therefore revoked his release status, and ordered him to serve an additional 90 days of incarceration. See Minn.Stat. § 244.05, subd. 3 (2014). Schnagl was released back into the community in December 2007. Second, in February 2008, a warrant was issued for Schnagl's arrest because he left his treatment program and failed to notify his probation agent of his location. Schnagl was subsequently apprehended, his supervised release was revoked, and he was ordered to serve the remainder of his supervised-release term in custody. When Schnagl was later released from custody to begin his conditional-release term, the Commissioner notified Schnagl that he was not entitled to credit for the time spent in custody for his supervised-release violations, and therefore his conditional-release expiration date was extended to January 26, 2015.

In February 2013, Schnagl filed a motion to correct his sentence pursuant to Minn. R.Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9, in Dakota County District Court. Schnagl relied on the conditional-release statute, Minn.Stat. § 609.109, subd. 7(a), to argue that his supervised-release term, whether served in custody or not, must be deducted from his 5–year conditional-release term, and therefore the expiration date of his conditional-release term had been illegally extended. He sought an order directing the DOC to subtract 32 months and 20 days of supervised-release time from his 5–year conditional-release term. In response, the State asserted that judicial review of the Commissioner's administrative decision implementing the sentence imposed by the district court may not be obtained by filing a motion to correct a sentence under Minn. R.Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9, because the rule does not authorize the requested relief. The State argued the district court lacked jurisdiction over the matter. Alternatively, the State argued Schnagl's motion lacked merit.

The district court concluded that the first sentence of Minn. R.Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9, which reads, [t]he court may at any time correct a sentence not authorized by law,” provided the authority to review the DOC's administration of Schnagl's original sentence, and therefore the court had jurisdiction over the matter. Nevertheless, the court denied the motion to correct Schnagl's sentence on its merits, concluding Schnagl was not entitled to credit against his conditional-release term for time spent incarcerated for violations of his supervised-release conditions.2

Schnagl appealed the denial of his motion to correct his sentence to the court of appeals. On appeal, the State renewed its jurisdictional argument. Concluding that Minn. R.Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9, authorized review of the DOC's administrative decisions implementing the sentence imposed by the district court, the court of appeals rejected the State's jurisdictional argument. State v. Schnagl, No. A13–1332, 2013 WL 6152348, at *2 (Minn.App. Nov. 25, 2013). Nevertheless, the court of appeals affirmed the district court's denial of Schnagl's motion to correct his sentence, explaining that Schnagl was not entitled to credit against his conditional-release term for time spent in custody for supervised-release violations.3 Id. at *5–6. Subsequently, we granted Schnagl's petition to review the denial of his motion to correct his sentence, and the State's conditional petition to review whether the district court had subject matter jurisdiction over this matter.4

I.

The State argues that Schnagl's motion to correct his sentence under Minn. R.Crim. P. 27.03 was the wrong procedure to obtain judicial review of the Commissioner's administrative decision, and therefore the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. According to the State, the proper procedure is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to Minn.Stat. § 589.01 (2014). We begin by examining the subject matter jurisdiction of the district court and the two procedures in question, and then we determine whether judicial review of the Commissioner's administrative decision may be obtained by filing a motion to correct a sentence under Minn. R.Crim. P. 27.03.

A.

Subject matter jurisdiction is a court's “statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate the case.” Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 89, 118 S.Ct. 1003, 140 L.Ed.2d 210 (1998). Put differently, subject matter jurisdiction refers to a court's authority ‘to hear and determine a particular class of actions and the particular questions' presented to the court for its decision.” Giersdorf v. A & M Constr., Inc., 820 N.W.2d 16, 20 (Minn.2012) (quoting Robinette v. Price, 214 Minn. 521, 526, 8 N.W.2d 800, 804 (1943) ); see also Seehus v. Bor–Son Constr., Inc., 783 N.W.2d 144, 147 (Minn.2010). Without subject matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the claim.See Tischer v. Hous. & Redev. Auth. of Cambridge, 693 N.W.2d 426, 427 (Minn.2005) (holding that district court erred in failing to dismiss claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction).

Minnesota's district courts are courts of general jurisdiction that, with limited exceptions not applicable in this case,5 have the power to hear all types of civil and criminal cases. Minn. Const. art. VI, § 3 ; see In re Civil Commitment of Giem, 742 N.W.2d 422, 429 (Minn.2007) (“Our state constitution provides a broad grant of subject matter jurisdiction to the district court....”). Article VI, Section 3 of the Minnesota Constitution expressly states that [t]he district court has original jurisdiction in all civil and criminal cases.” District courts have original jurisdiction over the sentence imposed in a criminal case. See State v. Shattuck, 704 N.W.2d 131, 148 (Minn.2005) ([T]he imposition of a sentence in a particular case ... is a judicial function.”).

Applying these principles here, we conclude the district court had subject matter jurisdiction over Schnagl's motion to correct his sentence. Having resolved the question of subject matter jurisdiction, we...

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