Comparison of Sex Offender Sentencing Provisions of

S.F. No. 1875 (Ranum) and S.F. No. 1325 (Kleis)

 

 

Issue

 

S.F. No. 1875 (Ranum)

 

S.F. No. 1325 (Kleis)

 

Comments

 

Life Sentences

 

         Mandatory indeterminate life sentence for certain repeat sex offenders

 

 

         Applies to first‑ through third‑degree CSC and CSPC offenders, who have:

 

           two true prior[1] CSC (including first‑ through fifth‑degree) or CSPC convictions (including extended jurisdiction juvenile (EJJ) convictions/adjudications[2]);

 

           one true prior CSC (including first‑ through fifth‑degree) or CSPC conviction (including EJJ convictions/adjudications2), and where: (1) the current offense involves an aggravating factor (this must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt under Blakely v. Washington); (2) the prior offense involved an upward sentencing departure; or (3) the prior offense was sentenced under the patterned and predatory offender sentencing law; or

 

         Mandatory indeterminate life sentence (20-year minimum term of imprisonment) for repeat sex offenders

 

       Applies to first- through fourth-degree CSC and CSPC (see below) where the offender has previously been convicted or adjudicated delinquent for a felony-level sex offense, two nonfelony-level sex offenses, or a felony-level predatory crime where the fact finder determined that the crime was motivated by the offenders sexual impulses or was committed as part of a predatory pattern of behavior that had criminal sexual conduct as its goal. Does not require that the prior offense be a true prior (i.e., the offender need not have committed and been convicted of the prior offense before the commission of the current offense).

 

S.F. No. 1325 requires the offender to serve a 20-year minimum prison sentence before being eligible for release. It also counts as priors the crimes of indecent exposure, solicitation of a child to engage in sexual conduct, use of minors in a sexual performance and possession/distribution of child pornography (S.F. No. 1875 does not allow these crimes to act as predicates to a life sentence). It counts delinquency adjudications as priors (S.F. No. 1875 counts only certain EJJ convictions). For felony-level priors, S.F. No. 1325 requires only a single prior (which need not be a true prior) and does not require that there be any aggravating factors, etc. S.F. No. 1325 treats fourth-degree CSC offenses the same as other degrees (S.F. No. 1875 distinguishes between fourth-degree and other CSC offenses when the current offense is a fourth-degree CSC).

 

S.F. No. 1875 is broader in at least one respect. It would allow a single, nonfelony-level fifth-degree CSC to be used as a predicate for an indeterminate life sentence. However, this would require that it be a true prior and also that the current offense involved an aggravating factor.

 

 

 

           two prior CSC (including first‑ through fifth‑degree) or CSPC convictions (including EJJ convictions/adjudications2) (note: here the priors are not required to be true priors) involving separate victims from the current offense, and where: (1) the current offense involves an aggravating factor (this must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt under Blakely v. Washington); (2) one of the prior offenses involved an upward sentencing departure; or (3) one of the prior offenses was sentenced under the patterned and predatory offender sentencing law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       Also applies to fourth-degree CSC offenders where the prior offense or offenses (if multiple priors are required) involved first- through third-degree CSC or CSPC.

 

       Minimum sentence to be set by the sentencing judge based on the sentencing guidelines presumptive sentence/applicable mandatory minimum sentence/durational departure. If the Commissioner of Corrections releases the offender (see below), the offender remains under conditional release for the remainder of the offenders life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         Mandatory indeterminate life sentence for egregious first-time, first-degree CSC offenders

 

       Applies to first-degree CSC offenses committed with force or violence (i.e., specified violent provisions) where the fact finder determines that the offense involved:

 

           torture of the victim;

 

           intentional infliction of great bodily harm upon the victim;

 

           mutilation of the victim; or

 

           exposure of the victim to extreme inhumane conditions.

 

This life sentence is the same as that described for repeat offenders (see above).

 

 

         Mandatory life without release sentence for egregious first-time, first- or second-degree CSC offenders

 

       Applies to first- and second-degree CSC offenses committed with force or violence (i.e., specified violent provisions) where the fact finder determines that:

 

           the offender tortured the victim;

 

           the offender intentionally inflicted great bodily harm upon the victim;

 

           without the victims consent, the offender removed the victim from one place to another and did not release the victim in a safe place;

 

           the victim was aged 13 or younger at the time of the offense;

 

           the victim was aged 70 or older at the time of the offense;

 

           the offender was armed with a dangerous weapon and used or threatened to use it to cause the victim to submit;

 

           the offense involved sexual penetration/contact with more than one victim; or

 

S.F. No. 1875 does not have a life without release provision or a 20-year minimum term of imprisonment provision. Instead, the minimum sentence will be set by the judge in the same manner as current law.

 

S.F. No. 1325s life without release sentence and 20-year minimum term of imprisonment life sentence applies also to second-degree CSCs. In addition, the heinous elements that trigger the life without release sentence are broader than those in S.F. No. 1875. The 20-year minimum term of imprisonment life sentence does not require any additional heinous elements to be established (i.e., a conviction under one of the specified violent provisions of first- or second-degree CSC triggers the sentence).

 

 

 

 

 

           the offense involved more than one perpetrator engaging in sexual penetration/contact with the victim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         Mandatory indeterminate life sentence (20-year minimum term of imprisonment)

 

       Applies to first- and second-degree CSC committed with force or violence (i.e., specified violent provisions).

 

 

 

Conditional Release

 

         Lifetime conditional release for repeat sex offenders

 

       Applies to offenders sentenced to indeterminate life sentences who are released from prison (see above).

 

       Also applies to first‑ through third‑degree CSC and CSPC offenders who have one true prior CSC (including first- through fifth-degree) or CSPC conviction (including EJJ convictions/adjudications2) where the mandatory indeterminate life sentence (see above) does not apply. Similar to current law, these offenders receive a determinate sentence (based on the sentencing guidelines presumptive sentence/applicable mandatory minimum sentence/durational departure) with mandatory lifetime conditional release upon release from prison. Also applies to fourth-degree CSC offenders where the prior offense involved first- through third-degree CSC or CSPC .

 

 

 

 

 

S.F. No. 1325 does not specifically address this issue. However, an offender released from an indeterminate life sentence under the bill would serve a lifetime conditional release term. In addition, since the bill contains a broader indeterminate life sentence for repeat sex offenders, it would result in more offenders being sentenced to indeterminate life sentences who, if released, would serve lifetime conditional release terms.

 

 

 

         Increased conditional release terms for other sex offenders

 

       Any first- through fourth-degree CSC or CSPC offender not described above is subject to an additional five years of conditional release upon release from prison (this results in a minimum of ten years of postprison supervision).

 

No comparable provision.

 

S.F. No. 1325 does not address this issue. However, the bill doubles the statutory maximum sentences for all CSC offenses. It also requires the MSGC to modify the guidelines grid in accordance with the bill. These changes will likely result in sex offenders who are not subject to the bills lifetime sentences serving longer sentences. This will likely result in longer periods of postprison correctional supervision as well.

 

 

 

         Conditional release terms

 

       Any conditional release of a sex offender (either those serving an indeterminate life sentence or a standard sentence) is governed by a new statute that imposes specific (and intensive) terms on the supervision (i.e., low caseload ratios, minimum number of home visits, work visits, etc.) and treatment requirements.

 

No comparable provision.

 

 

 

New Substantive Sex Crime

 

         New criminal sexual predatory conduct crime (CSPC)

 

       Creates a new substantive crime whose concept is taken from the current patterned and predatory offender sentencing law. Crime applies to offenders who commit a predatory offense (a defined term) that was motivated by the offenders sexual impulses or was part of a predatory pattern of behavior having criminal sexual conduct as its goal. (See 2004 Senate and House omnibus crime bills.) Statutory maximum sentence is 25 percent longer than the statutory maximum for the underlying predatory crime. If the offense is committed by a person who has a true prior CSC (including first‑ through fifth‑degree) or CSPC conviction (including an EJJ conviction/adjudication2), the statutory maximum sentence is 50 percent longer than the statutory maximum for the underlying predatory crime. Repeat offenders may be eligible for an indeterminate life sentence (see above) if the other applicable factors exist.

 

         New criminal sexual predatory conduct crime (CSPC)

 

       Creates a new substantive crime whose concept is taken from the current patterned and predatory offender sentencing law. Crime applies to offenders who commit a predatory offense (a defined term) that was motivated by the offenders sexual impulses or was part of a predatory pattern of behavior having criminal sexual conduct as its goal. (See 2004 Senate and House omnibus crime bills.) Statutory maximum sentence is 15 years imprisonment and/or a $20,000 fine. An offender convicted of this crime will receive an indeterminate life sentence with a 20-year minimum term of imprisonment if the offender is a repeat offender (see above).

 

 

The elements of these substantive crimes are identical. However, the statutory maximum for the crime in S.F. No. 1875 is reflected as a percentage of the underlying predatory crime. S.F. No. 1325 provides for a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and/or a $20,000 fine.

 

Release Authority

 

         Release authority

 

       Commissioner of Corrections to determine if/when a sex offender serving an indeterminate life sentence may be released from prison (same as current law for first‑degree murderers eligible for release after serving 30 years). When considering whether to release an offender, the commissioner must consider, at a minimum, the risk the offender poses to the community if released; the offenders progress in treatment; the offenders behavior while incarcerated; psychological or other diagnostic evaluations of the offender; the offenders criminal history; and any other relevant conduct of the offender while incarcerated or before incarceration. The commissioner may not release an offender unless while in prison the offender has successfully completed appropriate sex offender treatment and has been assessed for chemical dependency and mental health needs and if necessary, has completed appropriate treatment. In addition, the commissioner may not release an offender unless there is an individual release plan that ensures that the offender has suitable housing, receives appropriate aftercare/treatment, and has an employment or education plan.

 

         Release authority

 

       Requires the Minnesota Sex Offender Review Board to make decisions regarding the release of offenders sentenced to indeterminate life sentences under the bill. However, does not provide any details on the release criteria, composition of the Board, etc. Instead, requires the Commissioner of Corrections to establish criteria and procedures for the Board. Requires the Commissioner to seek the input of criminal justice stakeholders when establishing the criteria and procedures.

 

 

 

Increased Statutory Maximum Sentences

 

No comparable provision.

 

         Doubles CSC statutory maximum sentences

 

       Increases CSC statutory maximum sentences as follows:

           first-degree CSC increased from 30 to 60 years;

 

           second-degree CSC increased from 25 to 50 years;

 

           third-degree CSC increased from 15 to 30 years; and

 

           fourth-degree CSC increased from ten to 20 years.

 

 

 

Direction to Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission

 

No comparable provision.

 

         Sentencing guidelines changes

 

       Requires the MSGC to modify the sentencing guidelines, including the guidelines grid, consistent with its January 2005 report to the Legislature (but adapting the proposal to reflect the changes made in the bill). These modifications go into effect on August 1, 2005, and, along with other changes made in the bill, will likely increase presumptive sentences for sex offenders not subject to the bills life sentences.

 

 

 



[1]For an offense to be considered a true prior, the offender must have committed the prior offense and been convicted and sentenced for it before the commission of the current offense.

[2]Note: the prior EJJ conviction(s)/adjudication(s) must be for first- through third-degree CSC or CSPC (i.e., would not include fourth- or fifth-degree CSC).