Justia Minnesota Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Juvenile Law
State v. Flowers
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals granting the petition for a writ of prohibition filed by the State prohibiting the district court from enforcing a "taint team" order, holding that the district court erred in concluding that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel was implicated in this case.Appellant, a juvenile at the time of his offense, was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and sentenced to two consecutive sentences of life without the possibility of release. After Miller v. Alabama, 467 U.S. 460 (2012), was decided, Appellant was granted resentencing. At issue during the hearing was copies of recorded calls made by Appellant while he was incarcerated. The district court ordered the State to use a taint team to review the recorded calls for attorney-client communications on the ground that Appellant's the constitutional right to counsel was implicated. The court of appeals granted the State's petition for a writ prohibiting the court from enforcing the taint team order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that relief was not warranted because (1) the Sixth Amendment was not implicated here; and (2) the State would be injured and without any adequate remedy to correct the unauthorized action of the court. View "State v. Flowers" on Justia Law
In re H.B.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals concluding that certification of H.B., who was fifteen years old when he was charged in juvenile court with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and first-degree aggravated robbery, for adult prosecution was proper, holding that certification was required.Delinquency petitions were filed charging H.B. with aiding and abetting first-degree aggravated robbery. The State moved to prosecute H.B. as an adult for the charges, but the district court denied the motion, concluding that the dispositional options available to H.B. did not weigh in favor of certification. The court of appeals reversed and remanded with instructions for the district court to certify H.B. for adult prosecution. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals correctly found that the district court abused its discretion in determining that the State had not met its burden of proving that retaining H.B. in the juvenile system would not serve public safety. View "In re H.B." on Justia Law
Roberts v. State
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the district court's denial of Defendant's petition for postconviction relief, holding that, under Minn. Stat. 260B.245, subd. 1(b), delinquency adjudications may be deemed "felony convictions" for the purpose of the statutory definition of a crime of violence.Defendant was charged with possession of a firearm by an ineligible person, which required proof that Defendant had been convicted of a crime of violence. Defendant pled guilty to the offense, admitting that he had been adjudicated delinquent for committing fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance. The district court accepted the plea and placed Defendant on probation. Defendant later filed a petition for postconviction relief, asserting that his juvenile delinquency adjudication failed to satisfy the definition of a "crime of violence" because, under section 260B.245, a delinquency adjudication cannot be deemed a "conviction of crime." The district court denied postconviction relief. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the phrase "felony convictions," as used in the statutory definition of crime of violence, includes a juvenile delinquency adjudication for felony-level offenses listed in Minn. Stat. 624.712, subd. 5; and (2) Defendant provided an adequate factual basis for his guilty plea. View "Roberts v. State" on Justia Law
In re A.J.B.
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals concluding that two Minnesota statutes - Minn. Stat. 609.749, subd. 2(6), the stalking-by-mail provision, and Minn. Stat. 609.795, subd. 1(3), the mail-harassment statute - are constitutional under the First Amendment, holding that both statutes are facially overbroad.A.J.B. was found guilty of gross-misdemeanor stalking by use of the mail, misdemeanor harassment by use of the mail, and felony stalking. The court of appeals affirmed A.J.B.'s adjudications for stalking by mail and mail harassment, thus rejecting his constitutional challenges. On appeal, A.J.B. argued that his adjudications under the stalking-by-mail provision and mail-harassment statute must be vacated as contravening the First Amendment. The Supreme Court held (1) section 609.749, subd. 2(6), is facially overbroad and not subject to either a narrowing construction or severance of unconstitutional provisions; (2) section 609.795, subd. 1(3), is facially overbroad, but the statute can be saved through severance of the constitutionally problematic language; and (3) because it is unclear whether Defendant's adjudication of delinquency for mail-harassment is based on the severed language, Defendant's adjudication under section 609.795, subd. 1(3), is reversed and the case remanded. View "In re A.J.B." on Justia Law
Flowers v. State
The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s two concurrent life sentences with the possibility of release after thirty years, holding that neither Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), nor Jackson v. State, 883 N.W.2d 272 (Minn. 2016), limited the district court’s authority to impose consecutive sentences in this case.The district court convicted Defendant, a juvenile at the time of his offense, of two counts of first-degree premeditated murder and sentenced him to two consecutive life terms of imprisonment without the possibility of release. Defendant later petitioned for postconviction relief, arguing in part that the court’s authority to impose consecutive life sentences with the possibility of release after thirty years was limited by both Miller and Jackson. The district court granted the petition and imposed two concurrent life sentences with the possibility of release after thirty years. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for resentencing, holding that the district court mistakenly believed that Miller and Jackson limited its authority to impose consecutive sentences in this case. View "Flowers v. State" on Justia Law
In re Welfare of C.J.H.
The State filed a juvenile delinquency petition against seventeen-year-old C.J.H. Defense counsel at the first appearance told the juvenile court that the parties had agreed to a “continuance for dismissal.” Without finding that the allegations in the charging document had been proved, the juvenile court continued the delinquency proceeding and, approximately nine months later, terminated the continuance. The juvenile court subsequently adjudicated C.J.H. delinquent. C.J.H. appealed, arguing that the proceedings at the first appearance constituted a “continuance without adjudication” because he unconditionally admitted the charged offense. Therefore, C.J.H. argued, under Minn. R. Juv. Delinq. P. 15.05, the juvenile court’s jurisdiction expired before he was adjudicated delinquent. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the juvenile court’s jurisdiction expired before C.J.H. was adjudicated delinquent. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the plain language of Rule 15.05 requires a juvenile court to find the allegations in the charging document to have been proven before continuing the case without adjudication; and (2) because no such finding was made in this case, the proceedings at C.J.H.’s first appearance did not constitute a continuance without adjudication. View "In re Welfare of C.J.H." on Justia Law
Posted in: Juvenile Law
Roman Nose v. State
In 2001, Respondent was found guilty of first-degree murder while committing or attempting to commit criminal sexual conduct and first-degree premeditated murder. Respondent was a juvenile when he committed the crime. The district court sentenced Respondent to life without the possibility of release (LWOR) under the mandatory sentencing scheme in Minn. Stat. 609.106(2)(1). After the U.S. Supreme Court decided Miller v. Alabama in 2012, Respondent filed a petition for postconviction relief, arguing that his sentence violated the Eighth Amendment. The postconviction court granted Respondent’s petition and resentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of release after thirty years. The Minnesota Supreme Court subsequently issued its decision in Chambers v. State, which held that the Miller rule does not apply retroactively to a juvenile whose sentence of LWOR under section 609.106(2)(1) became final before the Miller rule was announced. Thereafter, in the instant case, the Supreme Court reversed the postconviction court’s order and reinstated the original sentence of LWOR, holding that the postconviction court’s legal conclusion was in direct conflict with Chambers, and the circumstances of this case did not warrant granting relief to Respondent under the Court’s supervisory powers to ensure the fair administration of justice. View "Roman Nose v. State" on Justia Law
In re Welfare of B.A.H.
B.A.H. was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct under Minn. Stat. 609.342(1)(g) for acts he committed with his cousin, then age thirteen, when B.A.H. was age fourteen. After a bench trial on stipulated evidence, the district court found B.A.H. guilty of the charge and adjudicated him delinquent. The court of appeals reversed, holding that subdivision (1)(g) violated B.A.H.’s constitutional rights to due process and equal protection. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that B.A.H.’s deliquency adjudication did not violate his constitutional rights to due process and equal protection, as (1) subdivision (1)(g) was not unconstitutionally vague; and (2) the State’s reasons for charging B.A.H. and not his cousin were rational, and therefore, constitutional. View "In re Welfare of B.A.H." on Justia Law
Posted in: Juvenile Law
In re Welfare of J.H.
Respondent was charged by juvenile petition, as both a principal and an accomplice, with criminal sexual conduct and other crimes arising out of the rape of a fourteen-year-old girl. After a hearing, the juvenile court concluded that Respondent had not overcome the presumption in favor of certification to adult court and certified Respondent for prosecution as an adult. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the juvenile court abused its discretion by failing to expressly weigh the seriousness of the alleged offense and Respondent’s prior record of delinquency separate from other public safety factors and by failing to specifically delineate how its determination of the two factors impacted its certification decision, as required by Minn. Stat. 260B.125. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the court of appeals erroneously interpreted section 260B.125(4); and (2) the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion by concluding that Respondent failed to overcome the presumption in favor of certification. View "In re Welfare of J.H." on Justia Law
In re J.J.P.
Respondent was adjudicated delinquent of felony burglary and misdemeanor theft. Thereafter, Respondent obtained a district court order expunging his juvenile delinquency records held by the judicial branch and sought to expunge his juvenile delinquency records held by the executive branch. The district court denied the request, but the court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded, holding (1) under Minn. Stat. 260B.198(6), the authority of the district court to expunge juvenile delinquency records in executive branch files is limited to the order adjudicating the juvenile delinquent; (2) to determine whether expungement is advisable within the meaning of section 260B.198(6), the district court must weight the benefit to the petitioner against the detriment to the public and the burden on the court; and (3) the district court should decide if Respondent's petition merits expungement by applying the balancing test the Court articulated here to the specific facts and circumstances of the case. View "In re J.J.P." on Justia Law