In layman’s terms, a “stay” is probation. It is imposed when the court sets aside, or stays, the statutory prison sentence and gives probation instead. A stayed sentence might also include a short sentence in local jail, often for “time served.” Actual time served for jail sentences might be 2/3 of time sentenced.
There are three types of Stays in Minnesota, all of which make it easy to avoid prison for serious sexual assaults against children and adults.
Most people assume that a felony sex crime should, and will, result in a prison sentence. A look at the Minnesota Criminal Code shows why. Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree carries a penalty of up to 30 years. Yet, in Minnesota’s largest county, Hennepin, nearly half of those convicted of this crime against children under the age of 13 get stays (or probation) instead of prison.
Under Minnesota law, there are three types of stays:
– Stay of Execution
– Stay of Imposition
– Stay of Adjudication
Here is how the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission explains stays of execution and stays of imposition:
A stay of execution occurs when the court accepts and records a finding or plea of guilty, and a prison sentence is pronounced, but is not executed. If the offender successfully completes the stay, the case is discharged, but the offender continues to have a record of a felony conviction, which is included in criminal history under section 2.B.
A stay of imposition occurs when the court accepts and records a finding or plea of guilty, but does not impose (or pronounce) a prison sentence. If the offender successfully completes the stay, the case is discharged, and the conviction is deemed a misdemeanor under Minn. Stat. § 609.13, but is still included in criminal history under Guidelines section 2.B. [emphasis added]
A third type of stay is a stay of adjudication. This stay delays a conviction (or adjudication) during a period of probation, after which time the charges are dropped and the offender has no criminal record at all. For more on this, see “Use of Stays of Adjudication.”
Anoka County has published a “County Attorney’s Legal Glossary” that states: “There is no statutory authority for a stay of adjudication, but the Minnesota Supreme Court has found that the trial court has the inherent power to order the stay.”
Two counties in our data set, Hennepin and Olmstead, had one case each where the offender was not given a sentence to state prison, but also did not receive a stay of execution or imposition. This appears to be the result of a durational departure to a misdemeanor sentence and resulted in the the sum of the breakdowns of “Type of Probation Given” on the Sentences page being less than 1% short of 100%.