This opinion will be unpublished and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:

M.S.B., Child.

Filed August 10, 1999


Amundson, Judge

St. Louis County District Court

No. JX-99-150355

John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Charlann Winking, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Ave. Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)

Mike Hatch, State Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101; and

Alan L. Mitchell, St. Louis County Attorney, Mark Starr, Assistant County Attorney, 300 South Fifth Avenue, Room 222, Virginia, MN 55792 (for respondent)

Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Amundson, Judge.



Appellant challenges an order adjudicating him delinquent and imposing a disposition for aiding and abetting receiving stolen property in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.53, subd. 1 (1998).


Officers Michael Gornick and Michael Tarr were on duty in the early morning hours of June 30, 1998. As they were patrolling the area, they noticed four boys walking toward the park. Officer Tarr recognized one of the boys and thought he saw appellant M.S.B. with the group. Later, the officers noticed three flagpoles in the park had been bent over and were missing their flags. The officers notified dispatch, but saw no signs of recent activity in the area. A few hours later they returned to the park and noticed that more flagpoles had been damaged and additional flags were missing. Officer Tarr investigated the park, while Officer Gornick answered a dispatch call. Upon his return, Officer Gornick joined Officer Tarr. They found no one in the area, but did notice footprints. After the officers left the park, they saw four males walking about 100 yards from the park.

The officers left and later found Nate Pingry, Jeff Shoars, Patrick Garcia, and M.S.B. at the grocery store. Officer Gornick questioned them, and Pingry said they had spent the evening at home watching television. The officers drove to the house and looked through the windows. Inside they saw four flags that appeared to be the ones missing from the park. The officers called their supervisor and were told to secure the house and wait to be relieved. Two other officers, Tommy Krause and another Virginia officer, obtained and executed a search warrant on the residence and took the four boys into custody. During the search, all eight flags were recovered. Mail addressed to Pingry and Garcia was also found. However, there was no evidence that M.S.B. had been in the house.

The district court ruled that M.S.B. was guilty of aiding and abetting receiving stolen property, but not of the other two offenses, theft and criminal damage to property. At the subsequent disposition hearing, M.S.B. was adjudicated delinquent and the court imposed disposition. Portions of the disposition were stayed pending appeal.


On appeal from an adjudication of delinquency, the appellant must show that "the trier of fact could not reasonably find he committed the charged acts." In re Welfare of T.M.V., 368 N.W.2d 421, 423 (Minn. App. 1985). Further, in reviewing a claim of insufficiency of the evidence, the panel must evaluate the record and the inferences drawn from the record, in a light most favorable to the state. In re Welfare of S.A.M., 570 N.W.2d 162, 167 (Minn. App. 1997). The panel must also assume the fact finder believed the State's witnesses and rejected any contrary evidence. Id. The weight afforded the evidence and the evaluation of the credibility of the witnesses is for the trier of fact. Id.

Appellant was charged with aiding and abetting receiving stolen property under Minn. Stat. § 609.53, subd. 1, which applies to:

any person who receives, possesses, transfers, buys or conceals any stolen property obtained by robbery, knowing or having reason to know the property was stolen or obtained by robbery[.]

M.S.B was never seen in possession of the flags and there was no evidence that he was inside the house where the flags were found. However, the officers saw the four boys together and "a conviction may be based on circumstantial evidence if the evidence reasonably supports an inference of guilt." State v. Jackson, 469 N.W.2d 457, 462 (Minn. App. 1991), aff'd, 472 N.W.2d 861 (Minn.1991). The boys claimed to be together all evening, but at home watching television.

Additionally, appellant's reliance on State v. Ostrem, 535 N.W.2d 916 (Minn. 1995), State v. Russell, 503 N.W.2d 110 (Minn. 1993), and State v. Ulvinen, 313 N.W.2d 425 (Minn. 1981), is misplaced. These cases all address criminal liability of an accomplice under Minn. Stat. § 609.05, subd. 1, and may be distinguished because to impose liability under this statute the state must show that defendant encouraged the principal to take course of action which he might not otherwise have taken. Additionally, Ulvinen should be read in its context as a first-degree murder case.

To support M.S.B.'s charge under Minn. Stat. § 609.53, the state only has to prove that M.S.B. received, possessed, transferred, or concealed the flags. Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the state, the district court correctly found that there was sufficient evidence to find M.S.B. guilty of aiding and abetting receiving stolen property.

The Disposition

Trial courts are afforded broad discretion in choosing the appropriate juvenile delinquency disposition, and this court will affirm the disposition as long as it is not arbitrary. In re Welfare of J.A.J., 545 N.W.2d 412, 414 (Minn. App. 1996). The goal of a delinquency disposition is to rehabilitate the offender, and the disposition must be necessary to the rehabilitative purpose. Minn. Stat. § 260.185, subd. 1 (1998); In re Welfare of J.B.A., 581 N.W.2d 37, 38 (Minn. App. 1998), review denied (Minn. Aug. 31, 1998). The record establishes that the district court's disposition supports a goal of rehabilitation. Because the state has meet its burden of proof to support the adjudication, and the disposition is not arbitrary, we affirm.