This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).






In the Matter of the Welfare of:  D.J.N.


Filed May 27, 2003


Kalitowski, Judge


Ramsey County District Court

File No. J701552816


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Leslie J. Rosenberg, Assistant Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55414-3230 (for appellant)


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and


Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Kathryn A. Santelmann, Assistant County Attorney, 50 West Kellogg Blvd., Suite 315, St. Paul, MN 551032 (for respondent)


            Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Schumacher, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            On appeal from an adjudication of delinquency for first-degree criminal sexual conduct by a Ramsey County District Court referee, appellant argues that (1) the court violated his due-process and equal-protection rights by failing to make written findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of its determination that the allegations in the delinquency petition were proved beyond a reasonable doubt; and (2) the court abused its discretion by admitting into evidence the victim’s videotaped interview with a nurse.  We affirm.




            Whether a statute has been properly construed is a question of law, reviewed de novo.  State v. Murphy, 545 N.W.2d 909, 914 (Minn. 1996).  Likewise, constitutional issues are reviewed de novo.  State v. Wicklund, 589 N.W.2d 793, 797 (Minn. 1999). 

            Appellant argues that his due-process and equal-protection rights were violated because the district court referee did not make particularized findings regarding his guilt, and therefore, appellant was not afforded “fundamental fairness.”  We disagree.

Minnesota law does not require particularized findings at this stage in the juvenile’s proceedings.  Rather, Minn. R. Juv. P. 13.09 only requires that the district court find whether the allegations against the juvenile have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt: 

Within seven (7) days of the conclusion of the trial, the court shall find that the allegations in the charging document have or have not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.  The order finding that the allegations of the charging document have been proved shall also state the child’s name and date of birth; and the date and county where the offense occurred.


Minn. R. Juv. P. 13.09 (2002).  Although specific findings are required for a juvenile disposition, they are not required for adjudication.  See Minn. Stat. § 260B.198, subd. 1(m) (2002) (written findings of fact required for disposition of juvenile, explaining how best interests of child are served and alternative dispositions considered and why those dispositions were not appropriate); Minn. R. Juv. P. 15.05, subd. 2 (2002) (elaborating on requirement of particularized findings for disposition).  And in In re Welfare of J.L.Y., 596 N.W.2d 692, 695 (Minn. App. 1999), review granted (Minn. Sept. 28, 1999) and order granting review vacated (Minn. Feb. 15, 2000), we concluded that particularized findings were required in determining disposition, “but not when deciding whether to adjudicate * * * .” 

            Here, the district court stated on the record at trial that it was finding appellant guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.  Further, in a written order issued August 16, 2002, the referee determined:

Through all the evidence and testimony adduced at trial, and based upon the petition and its attachment, the court finds the child GUILTY of CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT IN THE 1ST DEGREE, a felony.


            For the purpose of conducting a meaningful review, we would prefer that the court make specific findings regarding a juvenile’s guilt.  However, because Minnesota law does not require these particularized findings, we conclude that appellant’s rights were not violated. 


            Appellate courts largely defer to the district court’s evidentiary rulings, which will not be overturned absent a clear abuse of discretion.  State v. Kelly, 435 N.W.2d 807, 813 (Minn. 1989).  Appellant argues that the victim’s videotaped interview with a nurse was improperly admitted as a prior consistent statement.  Respondent argues that appellant did not properly object to the admission of the videotape.  But even assuming appellant’s objection was sufficient, we reject appellant’s argument that the district court abused its discretion.  

Minn. R. Evid. 801 (d)(1)(B) provides that a statement is not hearsay and is admissible as substantive evidence if the declarant testifies at trial, is subject to cross-examination, and the statement is consistent with the declarant’s testimony and helpful to the trier-of-fact in evaluating the witness’s credibility.  State v. Christopherson, 500 N.W.2d 794, 798 (Minn. App. 1993). 

Here, the record indicates that the victim testified at trial, was subject to cross-examination, and her statement was helpful to the trier-of-fact in assessing her credibility.  And we reject appellant’s argument that the victim’s testimony differed significantly from the videotaped statement.  The victim’s videotaped interview was slightly more detailed than, but still consistent with, her trial testimony.  And the inconsistencies cited by appellant, such as the fact that in the videotape the victim said appellant offered her ten dollars for sex, and then later changed the amount to five dollars, do not go to the substance of the victim’s accusations.

Appellant also argues that the videotape was inadmissible under the catchall exception to the hearsay rule.  But because we conclude that the videotape was properly admitted as a prior consistent statement, we need not reach appellant’s argument regarding the catchall exception.