Certification as Adult
Appellant was 15 years old when he was charged in juvenile court with aiding and abetting second degree murder and first-degree aggravated robbery. The State filed a motion to certify appellant for adult prosecution. After a 9-day hearing, the District Court denied the State’s motion, finding that only two of the six public safety factors set forth in Minn. Stat. § 260B.125, subd. 4, weighed in favor of adult certification, and therefore the State failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that retaining appellant in the juvenile system would not protect public safety. The State filed an interlocutory appeal, and the Court of Appeals reversed, determining that the District Court correctly held that the first public safety factor (seriousness of offense) and third public safety factor (history of delinquency) favored adult certification, but that the District Court incorrectly concluded that the second (culpability), fourth (programming history), and fifth (adequacy of the punishment or programming available in the juvenile justice system) public safety factors did not favor certification. Thus, the Court of Appeals concluded that adult certification is proper, meaning appellant would be prosecuted as an adult for the charged crimes.
The Supreme Court held that (1) a District Court’s consideration of the existence of any mitigating factors when determining the culpability of a child under Minn. Stat. § 260B.125, subd. 4(2), for purposes of certification, is limited to the level of the child’s participation in planning and carrying out the offense and the mitigating factors recognized by the Sentencing Guidelines, which are set forth in Minn. Sent. Guidelines 2.D.3.a; and (2) the Court of Appeals properly concluded that the District Court abused its discretion when the District Court determined that the State had not met its burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that retaining appellant in the juvenile system would not serve public safety, where the weight of the evidence did not support the District Court’s findings on the second and fourth public safety factors set forth in Minn. Stat. § 260B.125, subd. 4(2), (4), concerning culpability and programming history. Affirmed.
Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals
The lower court decision in this matter was affirmed without opinion.