Ramsey County District Court File Nos. 62-JV-11-2099, JV-10-2079
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and John Choi, Ramsey County Attorney, Peter R. Marker, Assistant County Attorney, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent)
David W. Merchant, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Susan Andrews, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge; Kirk, Judge; and Klaphake, Judge. [*]
On appeal from the order revoking his probation and placing him in a juvenile correctional facility for up to one year as a consequence for running away from his new foster home, appellant argues that the district court's order was not supported by sufficient written findings. Because the written findings, combined with testimony incorporated into the order by reference, properly addressed the five factors to be considered for an out-of-home placement, we affirm.
After being unsuccessfully discharged from the short-term program at Minnesota Correctional Facility (MCF)-Red Wing because he had been detained for the maximum 120 days, appellant S.D.S. was placed in a foster home on July 5, 2012. He fled the foster home on July 8, and on July 12, appellant's probation officer filed a violation report alleging that appellant, who was on probation for terroristic threats and disorderly conduct, had violated his probation by running away from home. Appellant was arrested on July 15 and held in juvenile detention pending his probation revocation hearing, which took place July 18.
Prior to the hearing, appellant's probation officer prepared a report recommending placement in the 9- to 12-month program at MCF-Red Wing, stating that the structured environment would help provide the stability for appellant to address his coping skills and behavioral issues, while providing him the opportunity to receive a high-school education and vocational training before he turns 18 on July 28, 2013. The report considered two other placement alternatives, but rejected them, given that each placement had previously been used.
At appellant's probation revocation hearing, appellant admitted the alleged violation, after which the probation officer gave his recommendation. Appellant's counsel argued that, while appellant was foolish to leave his foster home, he realized his mistake and wanted to give the foster home another chance. Appellant's foster father then spoke, asking the district court to give appellant another chance at foster care. A Ramsey County employee testified that he agreed with the probation officer's recommendation because appellant had failed in every previous placement and it was difficult to locate appellant after he fled those placements. He also testified that appellant could only be placed at MCF-Red Wing or returned to his foster father, because no other facility would accept appellant given his past behaviors, which included starting a riot at a prior placement. The district court concluded that because appellant had failed in, and fled from, several consecutive placements, a long-term placement at MCF-Red Wing was appropriate.
The district court issued a written order placing appellant in the 9- to 12-month program at MCF-Red Wing. The district court determined that if appellant were released, he would pose a danger to himself and others and would not remain in the care of his lawful custodian. The reasons for the placement at MCF-Red Wing contained in the probation officer's report were repeated word-for-word in the written order. The order also incorporated those portions of the transcript regarding the best interests of the child and why alternative placements were rejected. This appeal follows.
Appellant argues that the district court's disposition order placing appellant in the long-term program in MCF-Red Wing was not supported by sufficient written findings. The district court "has broad discretion to order dispositions authorized by statute in delinquency cases." In re Welfare of M.A.C., 455 N.W.2d 494, 498 (Minn.App. 1990). A dispositional order will not be ...