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State v. Garcia

July 15, 2004




Minnesota Statutes § 260B.130, subdivision 5 (2002), violates the equal protection guarantees of the Minnesota Constitution by denying jail credit to extended jurisdiction juveniles for time served in juvenile facility custody.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Page, Justice.

Reversed and remanded.

Heard, considered, and decided by the court en banc.


The issue before this court is whether a juvenile convicted of first-degree aggravated robbery, and designated an extended jurisdiction juvenile (EJJ), is entitled to jail credit for time served at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Red Wing (MCF-Red Wing). The sentencing court found that a juvenile designated as an EJJ was not entitled to jail credit. The court of appeals affirmed. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse and remand.

The relevant facts are simple and straightforward. On June 10, 1999, 14-year-old Francisco Garcia along with two other minors discussed robbing a pizza delivery person. They aborted their first robbery attempt because the delivery person was too physically fit. Garcia and one of the other minors then called a second pizza place and robbed that delivery person using a baseball bat and fireplace poker. The robbery netted Garcia and his friend approximately $100 in cash and checks, in addition to the pizza.

On June 14, 1999, a delinquency petition charging Garcia with one count of first-degree aggravated robbery, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.245, subd. 1 (2002), and one count of attempted simple robbery, in violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 609.17, subd. 1, and 609.24 (2002), was filed. After negotiating a plea calling for Garcia to plead guilty to aggravated robbery, designation of Garcia as an EJJ, and dismissal of the attempted simple robbery charge, Garcia was adjudicated an EJJ and sentenced as an adult to 58 months in prison on September 1, 1999.*fn1 Execution of the adult sentence was stayed and Garcia was placed on juvenile probation until his 21st birthday. As a condition of the juvenile disposition, Garcia was required to complete a residential treatment program at the Northwestern Minnesota Juvenile Center in Bemidji. At the sentencing hearing, the court noted that Garcia would be entitled to 83 days of credit against the adult sentence for time spent in custody between his arrest and sentencing if the adult sentence were ever executed.

Garcia was released from the juvenile center on August 14, 2000, and on September 12 Garcia was arrested on new felony charges and for violating the terms of his probation. On October 13, 2000, the court found Garcia in violation of his probation and ordered him to complete a residential juvenile corrections program at MCF-Red Wing. He completed that program in September 2001 and was released to a foster home. In March of 2002, Garcia absconded from the foster home. He was arrested again on September 7 and charged with seven new felonies and violating his probation.

On March 5, 2003, a hearing was held to resolve the probation violation. Garcia admitted the probation violation, and the court vacated the stay of execution and imposed the 58-month adult sentence.*fn2 Garcia sought 407 days of jail credit for the time he spent at MCF-Red Wing, in addition to the credit for the 83 days that he had spent in jail awaiting initial disposition of the EJJ matter. The court granted Garcia jail credit for time served in the county jail after his September 7, 2002, arrest. The court declined to give Garcia credit for the time spent at MCF-Red Wing or the time spent awaiting disposition of the EJJ matter in 1999. Garcia appealed the denial of jail credit only for the time spent at MCF-Red Wing. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that Minn. Stat. § 260B.130, subd. 5 (2002), as amended in 2000, precluded the district court from granting Garcia credit for time served at MCF-Red Wing. State v. Garcia, 670 N.W.2d 297, 300 (Minn. App. 2003).

In this appeal, Garcia makes four arguments challenging the denial of jail credit. The first is a two-part argument in which he contends that Minn. Stat. § 260B.130, subd. 5, is not applicable because MCF-Red Wing is not a juvenile facility and because subdivision 5 only applies to time spent in custody "prior to a summary hearing." He next argues that applying section 260B.130, subdivision 5, as amended, to the facts of his case results in a violation of the federal and Minnesota constitutional prohibitions against ex post facto laws. Garcia's third argument is that, as amended, subdivision 5 violates the separation of powers doctrine. Finally, Garcia argues that the denial of jail credit to EJJ offenders for time served in a juvenile facility violates the equal protection guarantees of the United States and Minnesota Constitutions.

Before considering Garcia's arguments, it is necessary to review the relevant law concerning jail credit. A defendant bears the burden of establishing that he/she is entitled to jail credit. State v. Willis, 376 N.W.2d 427, 428 n.1 (Minn. 1985). At the time of Garcia's offense in 1999, Minn. Stat. § 260B.130, subd. 5, which sets out the procedural requirements for executing an adult sentence after a probation violation by an EJJ, did not address the issue of credit for time previously served in a juvenile facility except to the extent that it provided that "the court shall treat the offender as an adult and order any of the adult sanctions authorized by section 609.14, subdivision 3."*fn3 Minnesota Rule of Criminal Procedure 27.03, subdivision 4(B), provides that when a court imposes a sentence "time spent in custody in connection with the offense or behavioral incident for which a sentence is imposed * * * shall be automatically deducted from the sentence and the term of imprisonment including time spent in custody as a condition of probation from a prior stay of imposition or execution of sentence." Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines III.C.3 provides that all time served in custody "for the offense or behavioral incident for which the person is sentenced * * * shall be deducted * * * from the sentence imposed." Additionally, until it was amended in 2003, Minn. R. Juv. P. 18.06, subd. 1(d), provided for jail credit in cases involving juvenile certification to adult court. According to the comments to the juvenile delinquency rules, this provision was removed from the rules in 2003 because jail credit is awarded at the time of sentencing in adult court and is governed by the rules of criminal procedure. Minn. R. Juv. Delinq. P. 18, cmt. In sum, at the time of Garcia's conviction, the adult rules of criminal procedure governed jail credit for EJJs because section 260B.130, subdivision 5, provided that an EJJ whose probation was revoked be treated as an adult. In 2000, after Garcia was adjudicated an EJJ, but before he was ordered to serve time at MCF-Red Wing, Minn. Stat. § 260B.130, subd. 5, was amended to preclude EJJs from receiving jail credit "for time served in juvenile facility custody prior to a summary hearing." See also Act of March 7, 2000, ch. 255 § 1, 2000 Minn. Laws 25.

We consider Garcia's equal protection argument first because it is dispositive. The crux of the argument is that Minn. Stat. § 260B.130, subd. 5, as amended, violates the equal protection clauses of the federal and state constitutions because there is no rational basis for denying jail credit for time served in juvenile facilities to juveniles designated as EJJs while granting such credit to juveniles certified as adults.*fn4 The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides, in relevant part, "No state shall * * * deny to any person within its jurisdiction equal protection of the laws." U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1. Article I, Section 2, of the Minnesota Constitution provides, "No member of this state shall be disenfranchised or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers." "Both clauses have been analyzed under the same principles and begin with the mandate that all similarly situated individuals shall be treated alike, but only 'invidious discrimination' is deemed constitutionally offensive." Scott v. Minneapolis Police Relief Ass'n, 615 N.W.2d ...

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