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In re Welfare of D.T.P.

August 31, 2004

IN THE MATTER OF THE WELFARE OF: D.T.P.


Ramsey County District Court File No. J9-03-55531.

Considered and decided by Anderson, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. When a juvenile with no prior misdemeanor adjudication commits a misdemeanor-level crime, it is considered a juvenile petty offense; but if the juvenile has a prior misdemeanor adjudication, the current misdemeanor-level offense is considered a misdemeanor.

2. When a juvenile is under the continuing jurisdiction of the court because the juvenile is on probation for a status offense that is not categorized as a delinquent act or a juvenile petty offense, the juvenile cannot be adjudged delinquent solely on the basis of contempt of court.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gordon W. Shumaker, Judge

Affirmed in part and remanded

OPINION

Appellant was adjudged delinquent on one count of misdemeanor theft after admitting that he had stolen an earring valued at $15 or less. The district court designated the theft as a misdemeanor because appellant had a prior misdemeanor contempt-of-court adjudication. The court ordered out-of-home placement for 7 to 11 days and stayed the disposition order pending appeal. Appellant challenges the disposition order, claiming that it is invalid because (1) the underlying offense was improperly enhanced on the basis of a void delinquency adjudication, and (2) the court failed to make sufficient findings to support the disposition. Because the district court properly designated the theft as a misdemeanor based on appellant's prior misdemeanor adjudication, we affirm that part of the order. However, we remand for required findings on the disposition.

FACTS

In January of 2001, appellant D.T.P., a juvenile, was adjudged as a habitual truant. The district court placed D.T.P. on supervised probation and required him to attend school. When D.T.P. continued to miss school, he was charged with misdemeanor contempt of court under Minn. Stat. 588.20 (2002) and was adjudged delinquent based on the misdemeanor contempt charge.

In October 2003, D.T.P. was charged with misdemeanor theft. D.T.P. requested that the district court withhold adjudication of delinquency because the prior adjudication of delinquency was not proper. The district court stated that because the prior adjudication of delinquency was never appealed it was "the law of the case." The district court adjudged D.T.P. delinquent based on the prior adjudication of delinquency and the misdemeanor theft. The court stayed out-of-home placement pending this appeal.

ISSUES

1. When a juvenile, who has a prior misdemeanor adjudication, commits a misdemeanor-level crime, the current misdemeanor crime is a misdemeanor. Was it proper for the district court to designate appellant's theft offense as a misdemeanor when appellant had a prior misdemeanor adjudication for contempt of court?

2. A juvenile, who is under continuing jurisdiction of the court for committing a status offense, may not be adjudged delinquent solely on the basis of contempt of court. Where the prior delinquency ...


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