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Sentence modification, cost collection claims rejected

State v. Shawn A. Hodgkins, 2017AP1799-CR, District 2, 12/12/18 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including respondent’s brief)

Hodgkins objected to DOC collecting costs from him while he was in prison because the circuit court ordered the costs to be collected while he was on a term of consecutive probation. He also sought a “new factor” sentence modification. Alas, it was all in vain.

Hodgkins went right to the circuit court to challenge the collection of costs; he should have tried the inmate complaint review system first. His failure to do that means he didn’t exhaust his administrative remedies, and that deprived the circuit court of competency to hear his challenge. State v. Williams, 2018 WI App 20, 380 Wis. 2d 440, 909 N.W.2d 177. (¶¶7, 11).

His “new factor” time cut fails because the “new factor” isn’t “new.” Hodgkins was relying on a post-sentencing letter written by C.P., the victim (and mother of their child), asking for a time cut so Hodgkins could help parent and raise their child. But:

¶14     …. Aware that C.P. was pregnant and that Hodgkins was the expectant father, the court took into account the effect of prison on Hodgkins’ ability to coparent and to provide financially for his child. It considered and referred to Hodgkins’ in-court statement about his desire to be a good parent, even noting that C.P., despite her silence at the hearing, may desire to have Hodgkins “be involved in the child’s life.” Indeed, the court’ssentencing order allowed contact between Hodgkins and C.P., as requested by C.P. through the State, for the purpose of parenting. The sentiments expressed by C.P. in her letter cannot therefore be fairly characterized as a “new” factor unknown to the court at the time of sentencing.

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