Last night I wrote about Paul Gustafson’s Minneapolis Star Tribune story on the bail set in Becker County District Court on Joseph Duncan’s charge (click here). In wending my way through Minnesota’s arcane sentencing guidelines and related statutes, I tentatively came to the conclusion that Duncan’s second degree criminal sexual misconduct charge was subject to mandatory aggravation that would have resulted in Duncan’s incarceration, contrary to the statement of Becker County Attorney Joe Evans quoted in Gustafson’s story. I suggested that Gustafson was apparently unaware of the repeat sex offender statute. I emailed my post to Gustafson invited him to respond. Gustafson responds:

I read your piece, and I think it has a problem. You apparently don’t know the specific provision of MS 609.343 under which Duncan was charged. He was charged under Subds. 1 (a) and 2. MS 609.109, Subd. 6 (Minimum departure for sex offenders) (1) does not apply to 609.343 Subs. 1 (a) and 2.

I stand corrected in suggesting that the County Attorney’s analysis of the “presumptive sentence” applicable to the case charged against Duncan may have been mistaken or that Gustafson had overlooked the statute I was addressing.


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