SailorsAllen Law

Technicality Reality

The last couple of weeks we have talked about more interesting topics.    We have talked about a defendant who concealed drugs in dark cavernous places.  We have talked about a South Dakota Deputy who expanded the scope of the stop to a drug investigation because the driver was driving too well.  Sometimes you have to eat your vegetables.   Sometimes if there is nothing funny you need to talk about people getting off on technicalities.

In this case, the juvenile was placed on probation on August 16, 2016 and violated probation a bunch of times.   The PO filed a violation on May 30, 2017.   That is within 360 days, right?  For all your calendaric scholars.    The juvie gets hit with consequence after consequence  and gets placed on indefinite probation, right? Wrong.  He got nothing and the State has to like it.  Actually, they don’t have to like it.  It just reminds me of the Spaulding from Caddy Shack scene.

Here is why they don’t like it:

Minnesota Statutes section 260B.198, subdivision 7(a). The statute states:

When it is in the best interests of the child to do so . . . the court may continue the case for a period not to exceed 180 days on any one order. The continuance may be extended for one additional successive period not to exceed 180 days, but only with the consent of the prosecutor and only after the court has reviewed the case and entered its order for the additional continuance without a finding of delinquency.

Minn. Stat. § 260B.198, subd. 7(a) (emphasis added). The same requirements are stated in Minnesota Rule of Juvenile Delinquency Procedure 15.04, subdivision 4(B).

Because the district court imposed two 180-day continuances without adjudication, the defense attorney, said the court had no jurisdiction over the juvie because the judge did not review the case and order another 180-day continuance without a finding of delinquency.

The COA agreed said the questioned statute is unambiguous.  It plainly limits a court to only issue one continuance, up to 180 days, and requires a court’s review prior to extending that continuance for another 180 days. See Minn. Stat. § 260B.198, subd. 7.

Here, the district court continued the case without adjudication for two 180-day periods at the initial disposition proceeding and failed to review the case within the first 180-day continuance to extend the continuance an additional 180 days. The district court did not comply with the plain language of the statute.

The district court acknowledged its mistake, stating “this Court’s dispositional order, which continued the case for one year without a finding of delinquency, did not comply with the precise requirements of Minn. Stat. § 260B.198, subd. 7.” (Emphasis added.)

Therefore, probation is over.  The juvie and justice…both win.