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Amundson finally sentenced after 5 years of appeals


WORTHINGTON -- It took six years of litigation, including five years of appeals, but Scott Allen Amundson is finally in prison for his attempted methamphetamine manufacture and possession back in 2003.

In what Nobles County Attorney Gordon Moore has referred to as "the oldest pending case in Nobles County," Amundson was sentenced recently to 36 months, with credit for 279 days served.

A motion for a downward departure on the basis that Amundson was amenable to probation was denied by Judge Jeffrey Flynn.

"Defendant's motion states that (he) is amenable to probation," Flynn's order states. "Defendant, since being placed on probation in 2004, has had four additional felony convictions. Defendant is not amenable to probationary supervision."

Amundson was arrested in September 2003 after authorities investigating a car crash went to his residence in search of an injured motorist. Law enforcement officials, believing the victim may be inside but unconscious due to injuries, forced open the locked door and observed firearms and ammunition. A week later, Amundson's estranged wife reported he was harassing her and took out an order for protection.

With a no-knock nighttime entry search warrant in hand, authorities entered Amundson's home several days later to arrest him on charges of terroristic threats and harassment. When they entered the home at 1:30 a.m. without announcing their presence they found evidence of a meth lab.

Amundson used a Lothenbach procedure, which was not a guilty plea, but waived his right to a jury trial with the intention of appealing. He was sentenced to 36 months in prison, which was stayed pending the results of further court proceedings.

The court denied Amundson's motion to suppress the evidence seized in the search, so he appealed, stating there was no probable cause to issue a no-knock warrant. The three-judge panel for the Court of Appeals came up with divided opinions on the matter, with two of them finding the search warrant to be invalid. The conviction was reversed, but in 2008 the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed a finding from the Court of Appeals that was favorable to Amundson and asked the appellate court to re-evaluate its decision.

While the courts were working on a decision, the 36 month sentence hung over Amundson's head. He served a light jail sentence in 2004 for a fifth-degree assault charge filed shortly before the drug charges. He was charged in two different counties for driving after revocation, and in 2006 was accused of burglarizing a home in Ocheyedan. Items found at his residence in Worthington totaled over $1,500 and included saddles, tools and more. While searching his rooms, authorities also found meth. He later pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property and fifth-degree controlled substance possession and was sentenced to 19 months in prison, which was stayed for five years. He is still on probation on that case file.

He is currently housed at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud, with an anticipated release date of January 2011.

"This case is so old that the statute Amundson was convicted on for the possession of meth precursors with intent to manufacture has now been revised," Moore stated.