Rapist’s remorse not good enough, appeals court rules

Jacob Miles Solberg, of Erskine, Minn., is probably going to spend more time in prison for raping a co-worker in 2013 because the Minnesota Court of Appeals today ruled that being remorseful isn’t enough to get a break on his sentence.

When Solberg pleaded guilty to the charges from the incident, in which his co-worker agreed to go to his house to meet with other friends. When she arrived, Solberg, who was drunk, was the only one there.

During the assault, she told Solberg “no,” according to court records.

Partly because his lawyer said he was remorseful, Solberg was given a two-and-a-half year prison sentence, which is less than state guidelines.

But in an appeal from prosecutors today, Minnesota Court of Appeals Judge Natalie Hudson, who was appointed last week to the Minnesota Supreme Court, said Solberg’s remorse, lack of criminal history and cooperation with the police aren’t good enough reasons to get a lighter sentence.

“There is no indication that (Solberg’s) remorse diminishes the seriousness of the offense,” she wrote in today’s decision (pdf).

The victim had previously confronted respondent about the offense, and he claimed to have no memory of it. Respondent did not enter a plea until trial was well underway; this was after numerous witnesses had testified and the district court had ruled on the permissibility of a rebuttal witness.

These facts do not support respondent’s claim that he was remorseful once he realized what he had done. Instead, it seems that he showed remorse once he realized a conviction was likely.

Hudson sent the case back to a district court for resentencing, where Solberg is likely to get another 23 months added to his prison term.