This opinion will be unpublished and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 the Matter of the Welfare of:
Filed December 14, 1999
St. Louis County District Court
File No. J399650222
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101, and
Alan L. Mitchell, St. Louis County Attorney, Patricia I. Shaffer, Assistant County Attorney, 403 Government Services Center, 320 West 2nd Street, Duluth, MN 55802 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Charlann Winking, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Shumaker, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
In this juvenile delinquency appeal, appellant B.K.N. contends that the district court abused its discretion by failing to order the least restrictive disposition necessary for his rehabilitation. We affirm.
Seventeen-year-old B.K.N. pleaded guilty to the felonies of burglary and criminal damage to property and to two counts of misdemeanor tampering with a motor vehicle. The district court adjudged B.K.N. delinquent on the criminal damage to property felony and the two misdemeanors, stayed adjudication of the burglary felony, and dismissed several other charges.
After a dispositional hearing, the court ordered B.K.N. to complete a residential treatment program at Elmore Academy. The academy is located 300 miles from B.K.N.'s home community and provides a program six to nine months in duration.
B.K.N. opposed placement at Elmore, arguing that there were less restrictive but suitable dispositional alternatives that would allow him to remain in or near his home community.
The court found that B.K.N. had a record of prior delinquency adjudications for various felonies and misdemeanors and three probation violations. The court found that B.K.N. had completed seven local court-ordered programs and concluded:
Local treatment placements had no impact on respondent's behavior. Respondent would benefit from a placement out of the community to break the connections with the criminal element in Duluth.
Contending that the disposition is arbitrary and an abuse of the court's discretion, B.K.N. appealed.
D E C I S I O N
"Trial courts have broad discretion to order dispositions authorized by statute in delinquency cases." In re Welfare of M.A.C., 455 N.W.2d 494, 498 (Minn. App. 1990). "Absent a clear abuse of discretion, a trial court's disposition will not be disturbed." Id. The trial court's broad discretion in delinquency dispositions will be affirmed "so long as the trial court determination is not arbitrary." In re Welfare of L.K.W., 372 N.W.2d 392, 397 (Minn. App. 1985).
A disposition must be "necessary to the rehabilitation of the child." Minn. Stat. § 260.185, subd. 1 (1998). The district court must show through findings that the disposition is in the child's best interests and must give the reason it rejected other dispositional options. See Minn. R. Juv. P. 15.05, subd. 2. In determining what disposition is necessary, the district court considers two factors, "the severity of the child's delinquency, and the severity of the proposed remedy." L.K.W., 372 N.W.2d at 398. Here, the court properly considered B.K.N.'s extensive delinquency record and his failure to remain law abiding despite several extensive treatment interventions through local programs.
B.K.N. argues that removal from the home and community is "one of the most drastic steps available, and should be utilized only after other, less restrictive alternatives have failed." The record shows that treatment through seven different local programs has failed to rehabilitate B.K.N. "The need for rehabilitation is enlarged by repetition of unlawful conduct." L.K.W., 372 N.W.2d at 398. The court found that B.K.N. will benefit from placement at Elmore Academy where he can receive job training, life skills assistance, schooling, counseling, and on-site chemical-dependency treatment; and that he needs "a long-term treatment placement where he can deal with his issues and get himself on track to law abiding behavior." The record supports the court's conclusion that an extended period away from Duluth, in conjunction with the long-term structured environment available at Elmore Academy, is necessary to restore B.K.N. to law-abiding status, and is, therefore, in B.K.N.'s best interests.
B.K.N. also contends that, because Elmore Academy currently lacks a formal after-care program in Duluth, the program is not in his best interests. The court ordered Elmore Academy to develop and submit an after-care plan 60 days before B.K.N.'s discharge. Elmore Academy currently conducts after-care programs in Ramsey County and other states. Moreover, Elmore Academy stated that after B.K.N.'s discharge it is willing to commute to Duluth, continue telephone contact with B.K.N., and work with St. Louis County to develop an appropriate after-care program. We hold that the district court did not abuse its discretion in B.K.N.'s disposition.