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In re the Welfare of J.H.

844 N.W.2d 28 (Minn. 2014)

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In re the Welfare of J.H.

Supreme Court of Minnesota

844 N.W.2d 28 (Minn. 2014)

Facts

G. K., a minor, was forced from a car, thrown down on a mattress, held down by a number of gang members, and raped. J. H. (defendant) was in the room when the rape occurred. J. H. was 17 years old. Under Minnesota law, when determining whether a minor will be certified as an adult for trial, a juvenile court must determine whether public safety will be served by such certification, using six factors: (1) the seriousness of the offense, (2) the culpability of the child, (3) the child’s prior record of delinquency, (4) the child’s history of participating and being willing to participate in available programming designed to meet his behavioral needs, (5) the adequacy of such programming or the punishment available in the juvenile system, and (6) the dispositional options of the child (e.g., standing trial as an adult or being kept in the juvenile system). The juvenile court issued an order certifying J. H. to be tried as an adult. The juvenile court found that all factors favored certification as an adult, except for J. H.’s lack of prior record. The juvenile court’s order explained its findings on each of the six factors and stated that it gave greater weight to the seriousness of the offense and J. H.’s lack of prior record, as was required under Minnesota law. The court of appeals reversed, finding that the district court gave too much weight to the seriousness of the offense and not enough weight to J. H.’s lack of prior record. The state appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dietzen, J.)

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