URBAN MYTH – Many years ago, an entire generation of judges and attorneys were taught that Minnesota law (MS 609.135, subd 4) established a 12 month cap on the total amount of local jail that a defendant could be required to serve (whether as a condition of probation or as a sanction for violating probation), and that any incarceration in excess of 12 months would require execution of the stayed sentence = prison.
This update is designed to dispel that myth and provide the bench and bar with a simple explanation and general rule along with supporting authority.
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GENERAL RULE: During a felony sentencing or probation violation hearing (PVH), although judges may warn defendants that a violation of probation can have serious ramifications, the court should NEVER PROMISE, MAKE ANNOUNCEMENTS OR OTHERWISE IMPLY that the court will send the defendant to prison if he/she violates conditions of their probation, or that the court has otherwise prejudged the proceedings.
Warning: If such a statement is made and a reasonable examiner [i.e. an objective, unbiased, layperson with full knowledge of the facts and circumstances] would question whether the judge could impartially conduct the proceedings, then at the request of the defendant, the judge would likely be disqualified from the probation violation hearing. State v. Finch, 865 N.W.2d 696 (Minn.2015).
TO READ THE FULL TRAINING UPDATE CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK: