This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat.  480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).


In the Matter of the Welfare of:  B.J.H., Child.

Filed August 13, 1996
Short, Judge

Mower County District Court
File No. J49550513

John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Susan K. Maki, Assistant 
Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, 
Minneapolis, MN  55414 (for Appellant B.J.H.)

Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 
445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN  55101 (for Respondent 
Mower County)

Patrick Oman, Mower County Attorney, Robert W. Auron, 
Assistant County Attorney, Mower County Courthouse, 201 First 
Street N.E., Austin, MN  55912  (for Respondent Mower County)

	Considered and decided by Parker, Presiding Judge, Short, 
Judge, and Foley, Judge.*

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

SHORT, Judge
	A trial court found B.J.H. guilty of behavior constituting 
third-degree assault in violation of Minn. Stat.  609.223, subd. 
1, adjudged her a delinquent child, and placed her on indefinite 
probation.  On appeal, B.J.H. argues the evidence is insufficient 
to sustain the trial court's decision because:  (1) the victim lacked 
credibility; and (2) the record fails to support the determination 
that B.J.H. either was an aggressor not entitled to claim self-
defense or transcended the boundaries of justifiable force.  We 


	When a minor challenges his or her delinquency 
adjudication on the basis of insufficient evidence, we (1) do not 
retry the facts, but (2) view the evidence in the light most 
favorable to the trial court's decision, and (3) assume the trial 
court believed the state's witnesses and disbelieved any evidence 
to the contrary.  See In re Welfare of J.G.B., 473 N.W.2d 342, 
345 (Minn. App. 1991) (quoting State v. Merrill, 274 N.W.2d 99, 
111 (Minn. 1978), and applying this rule to a delinquency 
adjudication); see also State v. Atkins, 543 N.W.2d 642, 646 
(Minn. 1996) (generally applying this standard in criminal 
actions).  Viewing the record from this perspective, we must 
affirm if the finder of fact could reasonably conclude the juvenile 
was guilty of the offense charged.  J.G.B., 473 N.W.2d at 344-45 
(quoting Merrill, 274 N.W.2d at 111); see Atkins, 543 N.W.2d at 
646 (generally applying this standard to criminal actions).
	B.J.H. argues the evidence is insufficient to support the 
decision that her behavior constituted third-degree assault 
because the victim lacked credibility.  However, as the standard 
of review implies, it is not for us to second-guess the trial court's 
express determinations that B.J.H.'s testimony was "less than 
credible" and that the victim rendered a "believable" account of 
the incident.  See State v. Lloyd, 345 N.W.2d 240, 245 (Minn. 
1984) (stating the resolution of conflicting testimony is the 
"exclusive function of the [trier of fact] because it has the 
opportunity to observe * * * the witnesses").
	B.J.H. also argues the evidence was not sufficient to 
overcome her self-defense theory.  See Minn. Stat.  609.06(3) 
(1994) (authorizing the use of reasonable force in resisting an 
offense against the person); see also State v. Housley, 322 
N.W.2d 746, 750 (Minn. 1982) (noting the state must prove 
beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant used unjustifiable 
force).  However, it is undisputed that B.J.H.:  (1) provoked the 
evening's events by confronting the victim outside her home; (2) 
escalated the situation by physically preventing the victim's 
attempted return to the safety of her house; and (3) never 
endeavored to withdraw from the confrontation.  See State v. 
McGath, 352 N.W.2d 36, 40 (Minn. App. 1984) (concluding the 
evidence was sufficient for the jury to reject the defendant's claim 
of self-defense, in part because it could have believed the 
defendant was the original aggressor but reversing the conviction 
on other grounds), rev'd, 370 N.W.2d 882, 886 (Minn. 1985) 
(affirming the evidence's sufficiency and reinstating the 
conviction); 10 Minnesota Practice, CRIMJIG 7.07 (1990) 
(authorizing a person who has induced a physical confrontation 
to claim self-defense only after an obvious, good-faith attempt to 
withdraw from the altercation).
	Moreover, even if B.J.H. could have invoked the 
privilege of self-defense, the evidence most favorable to the trial 
court's decision establishes that B.J.H. exceeded the boundaries 
of reasonable force.  See Minn. Stat.  609.06(3) (permitting the 
use of reasonable force in self-defense); 10 Minnesota Practice, 
CRIMJIG 7.06 (1990) (same).  First, the victim testified that 
B.J.H. continued to beat or kick her after someone else had 
pulled her to the ground.  Second, a police officer's testimony 
indicated that, on the night of the incident, B.J.H. admitted she 
"blacked out" or "lost it," then punched the victim, dragged her 
off the steps, and kicked her at least once while she was on the 
ground.  And third, B.J.H. acknowledged at trial that she "might 
have" kicked the victim in the face.  Under these circumstances, 
the trial court could reasonably have determined that the county 
carried its burden of disproving B.J.H.'s theory of self-defense.  
See J.G.B., 473 N.W.2d at 344-45 (quoting Merrill, 274 N.W.2d 
at 111, and examining the record of a delinquency adjudication 
for evidence that would permit a reasonable trier of fact to 
conclude the juvenile was guilty of the charged offense).


     * Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving 
by appointment pursuant to Minn Const. art. VI,  10.