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In re Welfare of S.L.

June 17, 2003

IN THE MATTER OF THE WELFARE OF: S.L., CHILD.


Blue Earth County District Court File No. J20250172

Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge, Toussaint, Chief Judge, and Minge, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Failure by the state to unequivocally recommend to the district court the disposition negotiated in the plea agreement requires that a juvenile be given the opportunity to withdraw his or her guilty plea.

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

Reversed and remanded

OPINION

Appellant challenges her adjudication of delinquency for committing second-degree burglary, arguing that the district court committed reversible error when it failed to permit her to withdraw her guilty plea. Appellant contends that the state violated the negotiated plea agreement by not equivocally recommending to the district court the agreed-upon stay of adjudication. Because the state did not follow through on its promise to recommend a stay of adjudication, we reverse and remand.

FACTS

On January 1, 2002, the day before appellant S.L. was scheduled to enter chemical-dependency treatment, she and two of her juvenile friends burglarized the home of S.L.'s father. S.L. suggested the burglary in order to obtain marijuana for herself and to repay a debt. On March 5, 2002, the state filed a delinquency petition in Blue Earth County District Court alleging that S.L. committed second-degree burglary, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.582, subd. 2a (2000), and misdemeanor theft, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.52, subds. 2(1), 3(5) (2000). S.L. pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Prior to trial on June 6, 2002, Blue Earth County filed a petition alleging that S.L. was a child in need of protective services (CHIPS petition) based on an unrelated matter, habitual truancy, in violation of Minn. Stat. §á260C.007, subds. 6(14), 19 (2000).*fn1 Subsequently, in a negotiated agreement, S.L. agreed to plead guilty to the second-degree burglary charge in exchange for dismissal of the misdemeanor theft charge and for the state's recommendation of a stay of adjudication of delinquency for committing the burglary. At the plea hearing on June 17, 2002, pursuant to the plea agreement, S.L. pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary. The state and defense counsel stated the plea agreement as follows:

[Defense Counsel]: Yes, Your Honor. We've had additional discussions with the County Attorney's Office and we've come to an agreement whereby [S.L.] would be admitting to Count I. Count II would be dismissed. Adjudication on Count I would be stayed and [S.L.] would be referred to probation for a [social history] * * * and additional consequences would be recommended.

[The Court]: Is it contemplated that * * * there be a social history then and a dispositional hearing would be scheduled; that the adjudication would be stayed at this hearing, but it's possible that it would be accomplished depending on what the results of the social history were * * *.

[Defense Counsel]: That wasn't my anticipation, Your Honor.

[The Court]: Okay. I just want to ...


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