STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of the Welfare of J.C.P., Jr.
Filed July 3, 2006
Redwood County District Court
File No. J6-05-1294
Samuel A. McCloud, Carson J. Heefner, McCloud & Boedigheimer, P.A., Suite 1000, Circle K, Box 216, Shakopee, MN 55379 (for appellant)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101; and
Michelle A. Dietrich, Redwood County Attorney, P.O. Box 130, Redwood Falls, MN 56283 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge; Wright, Judge; and Ross, Judge
S Y L L A B U S
A juvenile does
not have a Sixth Amendment right under Blakely
v. Washington,542 U.S. 296, 124
O P I N I O N
In this appeal from an adult-certification order, appellant J.C.P. argues that because adult certification exposes a juvenile to a potentially greater sentence if convicted, he has a Sixth Amendment right to a jury determination of any fact supporting that certification under Blakely v. Washington. Because the constitutional protections available in the juvenile system arise from the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and not from the Sixth Amendment, and because adult certification is a pretrial jurisdictional determination, a juvenile does not have a Sixth Amendment right to a jury determination of facts supporting adult certification. We affirm.
Appellant J.C.P., Jr., is a juvenile who was
indicted on three counts of first-degree murder for an incident in which he
allegedly participated in the killing of his uncle. According to the record available to us, the
state alleges the following facts: J.C.P. attended and consumed alcohol at a
After a certification study and hearing, the juvenile court granted the state’s motion and ordered certification. The juvenile court rejected J.C.P.’s Blakely argument and denied his request for a jury determination of the facts supporting certification. The juvenile court stayed the prosecution proceedings pending J.C.P.’s appeal of the adult-certification order. This appeal follows.
Does a juvenile have a Sixth Amendment right to a jury determination of the facts supporting adult certification?
J.C.P. argues that he has a Sixth
Amendment right under Blakely to have
a jury determine the facts supporting adult certification and that the statute
permitting the district court to certify a juvenile as an adult based on clear
and convincing evidence is therefore unconstitutional. The application of Blakely presents a constitutional
issue, which we review de novo. State
The certification scheme that J.C.P. challenges is established by statute. When a juvenile who is at least 14 years old is alleged to have committed an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult, the juvenile court may certify “the proceeding for action under the laws and court procedures controlling adult criminal violations.” Minn. Stat. § 260B.125, subd. 1 (2004). There is a rebuttable presumption that a proceeding will be certified if the juvenile is 16 or 17 years old and the alleged crime has a presumptive sentence of imprisonment. Minn. Stat. § 260B.125, subd. 3 (2004). When presumptive certification does not apply, the juvenile court may order certification if the “the prosecuting authority has demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that retaining the proceeding in the juvenile court does not serve public safety.” Minn. Stat. § 260B.125, subd. 2(6)(ii) (2004). J.C.P. does not challenge the juvenile court’s determination that certification is appropriate or argue that the other provisions of the adult-certification statute are unconstitutional. The only issue J.C.P. raises on appeal is whether the nonpresumptive adult-certification statute violates his Sixth Amendment rights as described in Blakely.
A criminal defendant has a Sixth Amendment right to have a
jury find any fact beyond a reasonable doubt, except that of a prior
conviction, that increases a sentence beyond the statutory maximum. Apprendi
The juvenile-court system is a product of legislative enactment.
See Minn. Stat. § 260B.101,
subd. 1 (2004) (providing that “the juvenile court has original and exclusive
jurisdiction in proceedings concerning any child who is alleged to be
delinquent”); State v. Dehler,
proceedings must “satisfy the basic requirements of due process and
But fundamental fairness under the Due Process
Clause does not guarantee juveniles every right criminal defendants enjoy, such
as the right to a jury trial. McKeiver, 403
J.C.P. argues that in addition to the rights
guaranteed under the Due Process Clause, Blakely
entitles a juvenile to a jury determination of the facts supporting
certification because certification exposes a juvenile to a sentence
potentially more severe than the consequences he might face if adjudicated
delinquent in juvenile court. But Blakely’s requirement that a jury
determine any fact that increases a sentence beyond the statutory maximum is
rooted in a criminal defendant’s
Sixth Amendment right to have a jury determine guilt beyond a reasonable
doubt. Blakely, 542
focuses on a materially different stage of prosecution, well after the district
court’s jurisdiction over the matter has been exercised, limiting the district
court’s ability to impose sentences that exceed the presumptive sentence or
statutory maximum absent a jury finding regarding the sentence. Blakely,
Other courts have likewise concluded that adult
certification proceedings are jurisdictional in nature, not sentence-related
proceedings to which Blakely would
apply. See State v. Kalmakoff, 122 P.3d 224, 227 (Alaska Ct. App. 2005)
(surveying caselaw from other jurisdictions and holding that Blakely does not apply to
juvenile-jurisdiction hearings); State v.
Rodriguez, 71 P.3d 919, 927–28 (Ariz. App. 2003) (holding that a juvenile-transfer
statute “is not a sentence enhancement scheme and, therefore, does not
implicate Apprendi . . .
[because it] does not subject [a] juvenile to enhanced punishment; it subjects
the juvenile to the adult criminal justice system”); State v. Jones, 47 P.3d 783, 797–98 (Kan. 2002) (holding that Apprendi does not apply to juvenile transfer
hearings because they only determine “which system will be appropriate for a
juvenile offender”), cert. denied 537
U.S. 980, 123 S. Ct. 444 (2002); see also
United States v. Juvenile, 228 F.3d 987, 990 (9th Cir. 2000) (holding that juvenile
transfer “merely establishes a basis for district court jurisdiction”). Only
The state’s juvenile system is designed primarily to protect accused juveniles from criminal prosecution and to rehabilitate them. The state may not remove a juvenile from that protection except by due process. Inasmuch as the adult certification procedure is the method to expel a juvenile from the juvenile system’s protection and is not in itself a criminal prosecution, the Sixth Amendment has no direct bearing on it. We conclude that a juvenile facing adult certification does not have a Sixth Amendment right to a jury determination of the facts supporting certification. Blakely therefore does not render the adult-certification statute unconstitutional.
D E C I S I O N
Because the source of the protections afforded juveniles in juvenile delinquency proceedings is the Due Process Clause and not the Sixth Amendment, and because adult certification is a pretrial jurisdictional determination that does not result in an adjudication or a sentence, a juvenile does not have a Sixth Amendment right under Blakely to a jury determination of the facts supporting certification.
 The Raino
court went on to add, “in recent years the courts have made applicable in
juvenile proceedings constitutional guarantees associated with the traditional