Figueroa v. State

In Figueroa v. State, 689 P.2d 512, 514 (Alaska App. 1984), the Court held that a suspended sentence of imprisonment necessarily entails a term of probation. Thus, if a sentencing judge suspends a portion of a defendant's sentence but fails to state how long the defendant will be on probation, there is no violation of the double jeopardy clause when the sentencing judge later amends the written judgement to supply this required element of the defendant's sentence. Id. In Figueroa v. State, the superior court sentenced Figueroa to 4 years of imprisonment with 2 years suspended. But, at the sentencing hearing, the sentencing judge did not order Figueroa to be placed on probation during the suspended portion of his sentence. Several weeks later, the superior court, in a written order, specified that Figueroa was to serve a 2-year period of probation, subject to standard probation conditions. Figueroa argued that the later inclusion of the 2-year probationary period in the written judgment amounted to an illegal increase in his sentence. In rejecting Figueroa's argument, the Court held that, under the Alaska Statutes, "whenever a sentencing judge suspends a sentence of imprisonment, the judge is required to place the defendant on probation." The Court concluded that when the sentencing judge imposed Figueroa's sentence, the sentence "was obviously incomplete when first pronounced, and it was therefore not meaningfully imposed. Correction of the original sentence was permissible under these circumstances." The Court stated that "because the nature of the court's oversight is apparent from the contemporaneous record of the sentencing hearing, it was not impermissible for the sentencing judge to correct the error by providing for a two-year period of probation, subject to the standard conditions." Figueroa hinged on the fact that when a judge imposes a suspended sentence without a period of probation, the sentence is incomplete.