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In re Welfare of C. S. N.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

July 23, 2018

In the Matter of the Welfare of: C. S. N., Child.

          Blue Earth County District Court File No. 07-JV-15-4238

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Leslie J. Rosenberg, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant CSN)

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Patrick McDermott, Blue Earth County Attorney, Susan B. DeVos, Assistant County Attorney, Mankato, Minnesota (for respondent State of Minnesota)

          Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Kirk, Judge; and Jesson, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         A juvenile district court may only continue a case without an adjudication of delinquency for one 180-day period, and can only extend the continuance up to an additional 180-day period after the court has reviewed the case. If the court fails to conduct a review hearing before extending a continuance, the district court loses jurisdiction to consider a probation revocation proceeding commenced after the first 180-day period has ended.

          OPINION

          JESSON, JUDGE.

         When appellant C.S.N. was in tenth grade, a younger student performed oral sex on him in a hallway at their school. C.S.N. pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, and the district court continued the case without an adjudication of delinquency for two 180-day periods. After C.S.N. violated multiple terms of his probation, the district court revoked the stay and adjudicated him delinquent. C.S.N. argues that the district court lost subject-matter jurisdiction (the power to hear and decide the case) before it adjudicated him delinquent. We agree and reverse and remand.

         FACTS

         This case began with a lunchtime conversation between appellant C.S.N., a tenth grader, and H.A., a seventh grader. In that conversation, C.S.N. asked H.A. for oral sex. And after C.S.N. repeatedly insisted, H.A. agreed and the two went to a school hallway where H.A. performed oral sex on C.S.N. The incident occurred on March 1, 2015. H.A. was 13 years old at the time. C.S.N. was 15 years old.

         H.A. reported the incident to police in September 2015.[1] The next month, C.S.N. was charged with felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim between the ages of 13 and 15 years old, by an actor more than 24 months older.[2] Pursuant to a plea agreement, C.S.N. pleaded guilty to gross misdemeanor fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, nonconsensual sexual contact.[3] The district court accepted this plea and ordered a pre-disposition report.

         The pre-disposition report noted that C.S.N. has support from his family, that he does well in school, and that he has no previous record. C.S.N. engaged in a psychosexual evaluation, which found that he has a low risk of sexual recidivism, does not have any deviant sexual interest in younger children, does not have obsessive sexual interest, and did not make threats or use excessive violence or weapons in committing this offense. The pre-disposition report recommended continuing the case without adjudication[4] for two six-month periods (approximately 180 days) and to place C.S.N. on probation with conditions. In an order issued on August 19, 2016, the district court agreed with this recommendation and imposed two 180-day continuances without adjudication.

         C.S.N. violated the terms of his probation on multiple occasions. First, he was charged with, and later admitted to, disorderly conduct that occurred in October 2016. Then in January 2017, C.S.N. tested positive for marijuana use, was charged with and later admitted to shoplifting, and was charged with a felony drug offense. And in May 2017, C.S.N. was charged with a misdemeanor drug offense, reported to his probation officer that he had recently smoked marijuana, and was terminated from sex-offender treatment.[5]Following the most recent violations, C.S.N.'s probation officer filed a violation report on May 30, 2017.

         Prior to the hearing on the alleged probation violations, the defense filed a motion to dismiss the proceeding, arguing the district court lacked jurisdiction. The district court denied the motion and held a hearing on the probation violations. C.S.N. admitted to the violations, and the court revoked his stay and adjudicated him delinquent of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, placing ...


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