This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




In the Matter of the Welfare of:

D.J.S., Child.

Filed December 31, 1996

Reversed and remanded

Short, Judge

Kandiyohi County District Court

File Nos. J29650118, J59550992

John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Charlann E. Winking, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue, S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant D.J.S.)

Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent State of Minnesota)

Boyd A. Beccue, Kandiyohi County Attorney, 316 S.W. Fourth Street, Willmar, MN 56201 (for respondent Kandiyohi County)

Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Davies, Judge.


SHORT, Judge

Sixteen-year-old D.J.S. was adjudicated delinquent on charges of felony theft and possession of a concealed weapon. At the disposition hearing, the juvenile court ordered D.J.S. committed to the Prairie Lakes Juvenile Detention Center for concurrent detention dispositions of 180 days with 120 days stayed, and 120 days with 90 days stayed. After serving the mandatory 60-day part of his dispositions, D.J.S. appeals from the disposition order. We reverse and remand.


Where a juvenile court orders a disposition authorized by statute, we may not disturb that disposition absent a clear abuse of discretion. In re Welfare of M.A.C., 455 N.W.2d 494, 498 (Minn. App. 1990). Although the disposition in this case was among those authorized under Minn. Stat. § 260.185 (1996), D.J.S. argues the juvenile court abused its discretion by failing to make written findings that the out-of-home disposition was necessary to D.J.S.'s rehabilitation and best interests. Even though D.J.S. completed his detention, the issue of his disposition is not moot because D.J.S. remains subject to the stayed portion of his sentence should he violate the terms of his probation. See In re Inspection of Minn. Auto Specialties, 346 N.W.2d 657, 658 (Minn. 1984) (recognizing appellate courts hear only "live controversies").

A juvenile court's disposition order must be necessary to rehabilitate the offender. In re Welfare of D.S.F., 416 N.W.2d 772, 774 (Minn. App. 1987), review denied (Minn. Feb. 17, 1988). In addition, an order for out-of-home placement must be supported by evidence that the placement is the "least drastic step necessary to restore law-abiding conduct in the juvenile." See In re Welfare of M.R.S., 400 N.W.2d 147, 151 (Minn. App. 1987) (citation omitted) (holding generally that juvenile dispositions must be supported by the above evidence). To ensure the placement serves the juvenile's best interests, the record must contain specific evidence that the placement is suitable for the needs of the particular juvenile. See In re Welfare of L.K.W., 372 N.W.2d 392, 400 (Minn. App. 1985) (reversing order placing child in residential facility where not suitable to child's needs). A juvenile court is required by statute to make written findings showing why a delinquency disposition is in the juvenile's best interests, what other dispositional alternatives were considered, and why those alternatives were inappropriate. Minn. Stat. § 260.185, subd. 1 (1996); see M.A.C., 455 N.W.2d at 499 (explaining written findings are necessary to appellate court's meaningful review of disposition order).

The record demonstrates: (1) D.J.S.'s probation officer recommended to the court that, among other things, D.J.S. be placed in the Prairie Lakes Detention Center for 10 days; (2) the juvenile court did not address that alternative disposition or explain why it was inappropriate; (3) neither the transcript nor the order contains any findings showing residential placement as necessary and in D.J.S.'s best interests; and (4) there was no evidence or testimony presented at the disposition hearing showing the type of programming available at the detention center or whether that programming was necessary to D.J.S.'s rehabilitation. Given these facts, we conclude the juvenile court abused its discretion in imposing a disposition of residential placement. While placement in a detention center may have been necessary to rehabilitate D.J.S. and serve his best interests, the absence of requisite findings leaves us with no basis for upholding the juvenile court's order. Under these circumstances, we are compelled to reverse and remand to the trial court for findings supporting the disposition.

Reversed and remanded.