This opinion will be unpublished and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: L.C.

Filed April 7, 1998


Schumacher, Judge

Hennepin County District Court

File No. J99755658

William E. McGee, Hennepin County Public Defender, Renee J. Bergeron, Assistant Public Defender, 317 Second Avenue South, Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55401 (for appellant L.C.)

Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101; and

Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Beverly J. Benson, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent County)

Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge, Huspeni, Judge, and Schumacher, Judge.



This appeal is from an order certifying appellant L.C. to stand trial as an adult on charges of aggravated robbery. See Minn. Stat. §§ 260.125, subd. 2(a) (presumptive certification statute), 609.245, subd. 1 (first-degree aggravated robbery committed by use of dangerous weapon or infliction of bodily harm) (1996). We affirm.


The juvenile delinquency petition alleges that L.C. committed first-degree aggravated robbery on April 29, 1997, robbing an adult male of $106 after L.C. and an accomplice had taken the man at gunpoint into the basement of a house. The petition alleged that the victim, who had immediately flagged down a police car, promptly identified L.C. at the scene as one of the perpetrators, and that an eyewitness also identified L.C., along with his accomplice.

The state filed a motion to certify L.C., who was born on July 30, 1979, to stand trial as an adult. A presumption of certification existed based on L.C.'s age of 17 at the time of the offense and the nature of the offense. The district court ordered a certification study and a psychological evaluation.

At the certification hearing, the defense called Tim Turrentine, the author of the certification study, who had recommended adult certification, attempting to rebut the presumption of certification through his testimony. Turrentine testified that L.C. had been adjudicated for possessing heroin in Illinois, receiving probation and 30 hours of community service, which he failed to complete. Turrentine also testified that L.C. had pleaded guilty in Wisconsin to using a motor vehicle without the owner's consent.

Turrentine testified there were a number of appropriate, secure facilities available if L.C. were retained in the juvenile system under extended jurisdiction juvenile (EJJ). Turrentine noted, however, that there was no Minnesota home school district to assume part of the funding for such programs because L.C. had not attended school in Minnesota. Turrentine testified that certain programs would be eliminated if funding were partially dependent on the participation of a Chicago school district. Turrentine testified, however, that the out-of-state funding problem was not the determining factor in his recommendation of adult certification.

The district court issued an order granting the certification motion, concluding that the seriousness of the offense, L.C.'s degree of culpability, his prior juvenile programming, and the inadequacy of juvenile EJJ dispositions all favored adult certification.


L.C. challenges the district court's determination that he did not rebut by clear and convincing evidence the statutory presumption of certification. A juvenile certification order will not be reversed unless the findings are clearly erroneous so as to constitute an abuse of discretion. In re Welfare of K.A.P., 550 N.W.2d 9, 11 (Minn. App. 1996), review denied (Minn. Aug. 20, 1996).

This is a presumptive certification case because L.C. was 17 years old when the offense occurred and the offense involved the use of a weapon (as well as being an offense with a presumptive prison sentence). Minn. Stat. § 260.125, subd. 2a. L.C., therefore, bears the burden of rebutting the presumption by clear and convincing evidence showing that "retaining the proceeding in the juvenile court serves public safety." Id. In a presumptive certification case, the alternative to adult certification is designation as an EJJ prosecution. Minn. Stat. § 260.125, subd. 5.

The district court applied the six "public safety" factors set out in Minn. Stat. § 260.125, subd. 2b (1996). Of these six factors, the greatest weight is to be given to the seriousness of the offense and the child's prior record of delinquency. Id.

The victim here was apparently threatened twice with a gun, not once as in the typical aggravated robbery. At one point, a gun was placed in his mouth. Although the police reports indicate this was done by L.C.'s accomplice, L.C. is criminally liable for the actions of his accomplice. Minn. Stat. § 609.05 (1996). Use of a weapon to intimidate the victim and put him in fear of his life is typical of aggravated robbery offenses. See State v. Cook, 351 N.W.2d 385, 386 (Minn. App. 1984) (noting that use of weapon to put victim in fear of his life is typical). But the intimidation in this case went beyond that typically associated with aggravated robbery. The district court did not clearly err in finding there was an aggravating factor recognized by the sentencing guidelines and the seriousness of the offense, therefore, weighed in favor of adult certification. See Minn. Stat. § 260.125, subd. 2b(1).

We also conclude the district court did not clearly err in finding that L.C.'s prior record weighed neither for nor against certification. L.C.'s only prior juvenile delinquency adjudication was his Cook County, Illinois, adjudication for possession of heroin. L.C., however, had pleaded guilty in Wisconsin to an offense committed while he was a juvenile under Minnesota law, although the offense was apparently treated as an adult offense in Wisconsin. The record of this offense indicates L.C. was a passenger in a car that had been stolen in Chicago, and driven across the state line into Wisconsin, where the driver of the car, L.C.'s apparent accomplice, fled when confronted by a police officer, and was captured only after a high-speed chase. L.C.'s prior juvenile record is not so "minimal" as to weigh significantly against certification.

The district court's application of the statutory "public safety" factors must be considered in light of the presumption of certification in this case. It is L.C., not the county, that bears the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence. As the district court noted, although L.C. had no prior history of juvenile programming, he failed to complete the community service portion of his juvenile probation in Illinois.

L.C. not only failed on juvenile probation in Chicago, he also dropped out of high school and whatever programs it had to offer him. The district court also noted that, while there are secure juvenile programs available in which L.C. could be treated, Minnesota is unable to ensure the intensive community support necessary after treatment because L.C. has almost no family or community ties in this state.

L.C. argues that the district court's certification decision impermissibly discriminated against him based on his status as a non-resident of Minnesota. But Turrentine testified that this was not the determinative factor in his recommendation in favor of adult certification. The district court's order does not mention L.C.'s status as a non-resident except in relation to the prospects for intensive community support after treatment. The right to travel is a fundamental constitutional right under the federal constitution. Mitchell v. Stefen, 504 N.W.2d 198, 200 (Minn. 1993). But L.C. has not established that there is any formal classification of juvenile offenders between resident and out-of-state offenders within the probation office, let alone legislative classification. He has shown, at most, that the probation office is aware of funding concerns raised by the treatment facilities themselves when a juvenile's mobility casts doubt on local school district funding for their programs.

L.C.'s nonresident status was only one fact affecting a single factor in the six-factor statutory test for determining whether to certify him as an adult. We conclude that the certification decision does not violate L.C.'s right to travel.