may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of the Welfare of: J.G.K.
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)
Hubert H. Humphrey, III, State Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101, and
Jeffrey Edblad, Isanti County Attorney, John H. Alme, Assistant County Attorney, 555 - 18th Avenue, S.W., Cambridge, MN 55008 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Short, Judge, and Peterson, Judge.
A trial court found J.G.K. guilty of second-degree felony assault in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.222, subd. 1 (1996), and fifth-degree misdemeanor assault in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.224, subd. 1 (1996), and adjudged her delinquent. On appeal, J.G.K. argues the evidence was insufficient to support her adjudication because the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that J.G.K. was not acting in self-defense. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
When a juvenile challenges a 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. Merill, 274 N.W.2d 99, 111 (Minn. 1978), and applying this rule to delinquency adjudication); see also State v. Atkins, 543 N.W.2d 642, 646 (Minn. 1996) (applying this standard to criminal action). 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).
J.G.K. argues the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to support her adjudication because the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that J.G.K. was not acting in self-defense. See Minn. Stat. § 609.06, subd. 1 (1996) (authorizing use of reasonable force in resisting an offense against person); State v. Housley, 322 N.W.2d 746, 750 (Minn. 1982) (concluding state must prove beyond reasonable doubt that defendant used unjustifiable force). We disagree. At trial, witnesses testified: (1) J.G.K. decided to go to the victim's home to "end it"; (2) J.G.K. and a friend arrived at the victim's home carrying mace and a "billy club"; (3) J.G.K and her friend told the victim to "get up and fight"; (4) J.G.K. and her friend waited for the victim outside his bedroom; (5) as the victim walked out of his room, he was sprayed with mace; (6) J.G.K. hit the victim in the head with the "billy club"; (7) after the incident, the victim had mace on his face, large bumps on his head, and a fat lip; and (8) J.G.K. had no visible injuries.
Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the trial court's decision and assuming the trial court believed the state's witnesses and disbelieved any evidence to the contrary, the evidence is sufficient to establish J.G.K. was not acting in self-defense when she assaulted Gruber. See Bellcourt v. State, 390 N.W.2d 269, 272 (Minn. 1986) (holding an aggressor in an incident can only claim self-defense when he or she actually and in good faith withdraws from the conflict and communicates that withdrawal, expressly or impliedly, to his or her intended victim); State v. Mings, 289 N.W.2d 497, 497-98 (Minn. 1980) (holding conviction for assault with dangerous weapon was proper when defendant kicked victim around head and chest with his cowboy boots); State v. Nordstrum, 385 N.W.2d 348, 351 (Minn. App. 1986) (holding
conviction for fifth-degree assault proper when there was evidence indicating bruises on child's face were intentionally inflicted and defendant inflicted injury).