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In re Welfare of J.R.M.

November 19, 2002

IN THE MATTER OF THE WELFARE OF: J.R.M., CHILD.


Nobles County District Court File No. J30150278

Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Sufficient evidence existed for adjudication of delinquency for possession of a small amount of marijuana, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 152.027, subd. 4(a) (2000).

2. Because one of appellant's two prior controlled substance offenses resulted in a "diversion," the district court was not authorized to order inpatient treatment under Minn. Stat. § 260B.235, subd. 6 (2000).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kalitowski, Judge

Affirmed in part and Reversed in part

OPINION

Appellant J.R.M. challenges (1) the sufficiency of the evidence to support his adjudication for the charge of possession of a small amount of marijuana, and (2) the district court's disposition order that required appellant to undergo inpatient treatment.

FACTS

On October 8, 2001, Paul Karelis, a teacher at Worthington High School, looked out his window and saw three boys smoking across the street. The boys were 75 feet away so he could not identify what they were smoking, but because they were holding the object between their pinched fingers, Karelis did not think it was a tobacco cigarette. Moreover, Karelis saw two of the boys pass the object between them. Appellant was one of those boys. After witnessing this, Karelis called Shane Laffen, the assistant principal.

When Laffen arrived, the boys were putting things in their pockets. Laffen did not see them smoking. Laffen went outside and met the boys as they were headed into the school. He had all three boys go to his office. There they waited for Bob Fritz, the school liaison police officer. Laffen thought the boys smelled of marijuana.

After Officer Fritz arrived, Laffen asked the boys to empty their pockets. A lighter was found in one boy's pocket. The boys were then asked to remove their shoes. No contraband was found on appellant, but a substance wrapped in a piece of paper was found in one of the other boy's shoes. Both Laffen and Officer Fritz described the substance as a "joint." No laboratory tests were done on the substance found in the shoe, but based on his past experience, Officer Fritz thought the smell and appearance of the substance was consistent with marijuana. Moreover, Officer Fritz noticed that the boys smelled of marijuana and had bloodshot, watery eyes. Finally, two of the boys, including appellant, admitted to smoking marijuana.

The district court held an adjudication hearing on January 15, 2002. Based on the evidence presented at the hearing, appellant was adjudicated for possession of a small amount of marijuana. Following the adjudication hearing, the district court held a dispositional hearing. The predispositional investigation submitted to the district court summarized appellant's record and contained two entries involving controlled substances. The disposition for the first entry was characterized as a "diversion." Based on the information gathered from both the predispositional investigation and the hearing, the ...


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