This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).




In the Matter of the

Welfare of: E.B.F., Child.

Filed January 12, 1999


Foley, Judge[*]

Kandiyohi County District Court

File No. J7-98-50233

John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Marie L. Wolf, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Ave. S.E., Ste. 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414-3230 (for appellant E.B.F.)

Michael A. Hatch, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota St., St. Paul, MN 55101; and

Boyd Beccue, Kandiyohi County Attorney, Nancy K. Grussing, Assistant County Attorney, 316 SW Fourth St., Willmar, MN 56201 (for respondent)

Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Foley, Judge.


FOLEY, Judge Appellant challenges his juvenile delinquency adjudication. Because the evidence sufficiently established that appellant intended to cause damage to property, we affirm.


On March 17, 1998, Prairie Lakes Detention Center staff placed E.B.F., a juvenile, in a cell after he refused to follow the rules. E.B.F. partially flooded the cell by causing the toilet to overflow. The staff transferred him to a different cell in the basement, where the water was turned off. The next evening at 7:30 p.m., E.B.F. demanded that the water in his cell be turned back on and that he be given his medication, normally given at bedtime. When his demand was ignored, E.B.F. tried to get the staff's attention by making noise in a variety of ways, including pushing the intercom button, kicking the door, punching the mattress against the floor and door, and smacking the pillow against the wall. The staff periodically checked on E.B.F., but ignored his antics. At 8:25 p.m., ten minutes after a staff check, the cell's sprinkler went off, triggering the fire alarm and flooding the basement with at least an inch of water. An investigator determined that the sprinkler head was damaged and found a ripped pillow in the cell.

E.B.F. admitted hitting the sprinkler head while swinging the pillow over his head, but denied doing it intentionally. He stated he was just smacking the pillow against the wall to try to get the staff's attention. He told an officer investigating the incident that he knew better than to hit the sprinkler on purpose because he would just be in more trouble.

The district court concluded that the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that E.B.F. committed first-degree criminal damage to property, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.595, subd. 1(3) (1996), and adjudicated him a delinquent. This appeal followed.


In an evidentiary challenge to a delinquency adjudication, the juvenile has the burden of showing that the fact-finder could not reasonably find that he or she committed the charged acts. In re Welfare of T.M.V., 368 N.W.2d 421, 423 (Minn. App. 1985). In determining whether the evidence was legally sufficient, this court evaluates the record and the legitimate inferences from the record in the light most favorable to the adjudication of delinquency. In re Welfare of S.A.M., 570 N.W.2d 162, 167 (Minn. App. 1997); In re Welfare of G.L.M., 347 N.W.2d 84, 85 (Minn. App. 1984).

Whoever "intentionally causes damage" to another's physical property is guilty of criminal damage to property in the first degree if the damage reduces the property's value by more that $500 measured by the cost of repair and replacement. Minn. Stat. § 609.595, subd. 1(3). "Intentionally" means that the actor either has a purpose to do the thing or cause the specified result or believes that the act, if successful, will cause that result. Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 9(3) (1996). Intent may be inferred from the actor's statements and actions. See State v. Anderson, 494 N.W.2d 876, 876 (Minn. 1993) (fact-finder free to infer intent to damage property from evidence that defendant grabbed radio from security officer and threw it into lake after security officer told him to leave his employer's premises).

E.B.F. contends that the state failed to prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt. He argues that the evidence established that the property damage was the accidental result of his attempts to get staff attention. The nature of E.B.F's actions just before the sprinkler head broke is inconsistent with this argument. After kicking the door until his feet got sore and vigorously smacking the mattress against the floor, E.B.F. proceeded to swing the pillow against the wall and sprinkler head with enough force to rip it open. Moreover, E.B.F. deliberately flooded his cell the day before. This evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the adjudication, supports the district court's inference of intent to cause damage to property.


[*] Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by apointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.