This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In Re the Matter of the Welfare of: T.R.P.
Filed August 3, 1999
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded
Ramsey County District Court
File No. J098554895
Mary Jo Brooks Hunter, Elizabeth A. Adinolfi, Certified Student Attorney,
Hamline University School of Law, Child Advocacy Clinic, 1536 Hewitt Avenue,
St. Paul, MN 55104 (for appellant T.R.P.)
Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Darrell C. Hill, Assistant County
Attorney, Andrea R. Rogers, Certified Student Attorney, 50 West Kellogg
Boulevard, Suite 315, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Sixteen-year-old T.R.P. was adjudicated delinquent on charges of
assault in the third degree and simple robbery. At the disposition hearing,
the juvenile court ordered that T.R.P. be placed at Chamberlain Academy for
five to eight months and pay restitution. On appeal, T.R.P. argues: (1) the
placement order does not comport with the controlling rule or statutory
requirements; and (2) the juvenile court abused its discretion in ordering
restitution. We affirm the award of restitution, but reverse the disposition
and remand for additional findings.
D E C I S I O N
Juvenile court delinquency dispositions are lawful only if "necessary
to the rehabilitation of the child." Minn. Stat. § 260.185, subd. 1
(1998); In re Welfare of C.A.W., 579 N.W.2d 494, 496-97 (Minn.
App. 1998). 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." In re Welfare of M.R.S., 400 N.W.2d
147, 151 (Minn. App. 1987) (citation omitted). In addition, the order must be
supported by written findings describing: (1) why public safety is served by
the disposition; (2) why the best interests of the child are served by the
disposition; (3) what alternative dispositions were proposed to the court and
why these alternatives were not ordered; (4) why the child's present custody is
unacceptable; and (5) how the correctional placement meets the child's needs.
See C.A.W., 579 N.W.2d at 497-98 (explaining
significance of such findings). Although we may not disturb a juvenile court
dispositional order absent a clear abuse of discretion, a failure to make
written findings is reversible error. In re Welfare of M.A.C.,
455 N.W.2d 494, 498-99 (Minn. App. 1990); see M.R.S., 400 N.W.2d
at 151 (holding trial court did not comply with legislative mandate requiring
T.R.P argues the juvenile court committed reversible error when it failed to
make factual findings required by Minnesota law. We agree. The juvenile
court: (1) stated T.R.P. was "out of control," but did not explain how public
safety would be served by the disposition; (2) found out-of-home placement was
in T.R.P.'s "best interests," but did not explain why this disposition was
necessary; and (3) failed to make written findings addressing alternative
dispositions, how correctional placement would be more beneficial to T.R.P.
than her home environment, or how Chamberlain Academy would meet T.R.P.'s
needs. Under these circumstances, we must reverse and remand for written
dispositional findings of facts. We emphasize that our conclusion is based on
a trial court's failure to make findings, not on its dispositional placement.
T.R.P. also argues the juvenile court abused its discretion when it
ordered the probation officer to determine restitution. But a trial court has
discretion in ordering reasonable restitution. Minn. Stat. § 609.135,
subd. 1(a)(1), (b) (1998); In re Welfare of D.D.G., 532 N.W.2d
279, 280 (Minn. App. 1995), review denied (Minn. Aug. 30, 1995);
see also Minn. Stat. § 260.185, subd. 1(e) (stating if child
found to have violated law, court may order restitution). After a careful
review of the record, we conclude the court did not abuse its discretion by
ordering restitution or in delegating the task of calculation to the probation
department. When an amount is calculated, T.R.P. may challenge the
reasonableness of an award by motion. See Minn. Stat. §
611A.045, subd. 3 (1998) (explaining procedure for challenging amount of
restitution); State v. Kennedy, 327 N.W.2d 3, 5 (Minn. 1982)
(concluding argument regarding restitution was premature because amount had not
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
[*] Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.