This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996)




St. Louis County,



S.V.K., child,


Filed November 10, 1998

Reversed and remanded

Lansing, Judge

St. Louis County Juvenile Court

File No. J998650571

Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota St., St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent)

Alan L. Mitchell, St. Louis County Attorney, Charles L. Schumacher, Assistant County Attorney, 403 Government Services Center, 320 West Second Street, Duluth, MN 55802 (for respondent)

Fred T. Friedman, Chief Public Defender of the Sixth Judicial District, Cynthia L. Evenson, Assistant Public Defender, 1400 Alworth Building, 306 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802 (for appellant)

Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Short, Judge.



This appeal challenges the district court's failure to make written findings in support of a juvenile's disposition for violating a trespassing ordinance. We reverse and remand.


The district court found S.V.K. guilty of trespassing in violation of a Duluth ordinance and imposed a disposition of a weekend at the Arrowhead Juvenile Center (AJC), a locked juvenile facility. The trespass occurred on March 20, 1998, when S.V.K. went to Central High School in Duluth to pick up his girlfriend. Officer Carlson, who was working at the school, recognized S.V.K. and knew that he was not allowed on Central High School's property. Carlson approached S.V.K., talked with him, cited him for trespassing, and then warned him not to return to the property.

Between the date of this trespass and S.V.K.'s appearance on the citation, S.V.K. was in juvenile court responding to an earlier citation for assault and trespass at Central High School. At this April 2, 1998, appearance, S.V.K. reached a plea agreement with the county attorney whereby he pleaded guilty to a charge of fifth degree assault and the state dropped the trespass charge. S.V.K. received a disposition of three weekends at the AJC, attendance at an Impact of Violence Panel, probation for 120 days, and an apology to the victim.

On May 5, 1998, S.V.K. appeared on the March 20 trespass citation. The court noted the April 2 order did not address S.V.K.'s March 20 trespass. The court ordered S.V.K. to spend an additional weekend at AJC. The order stated the disposition but did not address alternative placement options, the best manner to rehabilitate S.V.K., or whether the disposition was in the best interest of S.V.K. S.V.K. appeals the adequacy of the findings to support the disposition.


The district court has broad discretion in selecting an appropriate disposition after a juvenile delinquency adjudication. Minn. Stat. § 260.185 (Supp. 1997); In re Welfare of J.A.J., 545 N.W.2d 412, 414 (Minn. App. 1996). The disposition, however, "must be necessary" to achieve the goal of rehabilitation, In re Welfare of D.S.F., 416 N.W.2d 772, 774 (Minn. App. 1987), review denied (Minn. Feb. 17, 1988), and it may not be arbitrary, In re Welfare of L.K.W., 372 N.W.2d 392, 397 (Minn. App. 1985), or an abuse of discretion, D.S.F., 416 N.W.2d at 775.

Whether a juvenile admits a violation or is adjudicated after a hearing, the court's disposition order must contain findings that support the disposition. Minn. Stat. § 260.185, subd. 1 (1996). The findings must state why the disposition is in the best interests of the child and what alternative dispositions the court considered and why the alternatives were not appropriate. Id.; see Minn. R. Juv. P. 15.05. In its disposition order, the district court made the following findings of fact:

This is respondent's fifth trespassing charge. Respondent has received these charges because he knowingly goes to Central High even after being warned (on several occasions) that he is not welcome.

These findings fail to discuss the best interests of S.V.K. and what alternative dispositions were available and considered. Failure to make these findings as required by statute is reversible error. In re Welfare of M.A.C., 455 N.W.2d 494, 499 (Minn. App. 1990).

The district court's disposition order appears to be directed toward a goal of "developing individual responsibility for lawful behavior." Minn. Stat. § 260.011, subd. 2(c) (1996). A court may take steps necessary to effect rehabilitation, but "it must take the least drastic step." L.K.W., 372 N.W.2d at 398. Because the district court does not indicate how the disposition will rehabilitate S.V.K. or find that its disposition is the least restrictive alternative, the findings are insufficient. See J.A.J., 545 N.W.2d at 415 (trial court abuses its discretion when "written findings are inadequate because they do not show why less restrictive alternatives were rejected").

We therefore reverse the disposition and remand this matter to the district court for proceedings consistent with this court's decision in In re Welfare of C.A.W., 579 N.W.2d 494 (Minn. App. 1998).

Reversed and remanded.