Articles Posted in Juvenile Law

by
Seventeen-year-old Defendant was charged with two counts of sexual intercourse without consent. Defendant filed two motions to transfer each charge to Youth Court. The district court denied both transfer motions. Defendant ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent. Defendant was sentenced to fifty years in prison, with ten years suspended. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the district court’s refusal to transfer the charges to Youth Court, holding that the district court did not err in denying the transfer motions; and (2) remanded for entry of an amended judgment and review of the sentence as provided by law, holding that the district court erred by not including the requirements found in Mont. Code Ann. 41-5-2503(1) in Defendant’s sentence. View "State v. Talksabout" on Justia Law

by
The State charged twelve-year-old K.J.R. with seven felony and misdemeanor offenses. The district youth court subsequently adjudicated K.J.R. to be a delinquent youth. The youth court committed K.J.R. to the supervision of the youth court until age eighteen, or sooner released, for placement at a specific therapeutic group home. Over the next three years, the juvenile probation officer moved K.J.R. in and out of a sequence of juvenile facilities and foster care homes. When K.J.R. was fifteen years old, the State filed a petition to revoke his youth court probation. After a dispositional hearing, the youth court revoked K.J.R.’s original commitment to the youth court and committed K.J.R. to the supervision of the Montana Department of Corrections (DOC) at a state youth correctional facility until age eighteen or sooner released. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the court did not err when it revoked K.J.R.’s original youth court commitment and recommitted him to DOC for placement at a state youth correction facility; and (2) K.J.R.’s claim that he received ineffective assistance of counsel during the delinquency proceedings was without merit. View "State v. K.J.R." on Justia Law

Posted in: Juvenile Law

by
J.W. was designated a delinquent youth and serious juvenile offender and placed on probation, subject to several conditions. On June 30, 2014, the Youth Court issued a disposition order revoking J.W.’s probation, committing him to placement within a Montana Department of Corrections (DOC) facility, and requiring him to complete certain phases of the facility’s juvenile SOTP. The State filed a motion to revoke the disposition order and transfer J.W.’s case to the District Court pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. 41-5-208. The Youth Court granted the motion. The Youth Court and District Court imposed house arrest with restrictive conditions on J.W. pending a final disposition of his case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Youth Court did not err in granting the State’s motion to transfer; and (2) the lower courts did not err in imposing house arrest with restrictive conditions on J.W. View "In re J.W." on Justia Law

Posted in: Juvenile Law

by
A.D.T. was adjudicated as a delinquent youth and juvenile offender. A.D.T. was later transferred to district court pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. 41-5-208 for supervision by the Department of Corrections when he reached his eighteenth birthday. Thereafter, the district court imposed forty-one new conditions to A.D.T.’s probation and supervision. The State subsequently filed a petition to revoke A.D.T.’s probation. A.D.T. moved to dismiss the State’s revocation petition, arguing that imposition of the forty-one conditions violated section 41-5-208(4) and exceeded the scope of the youth court’s disposition and transfer order. The district court denied the motion to dismiss, found that A.D.T. had violated terms of his probation, and placed him on formal probation with Adult Probation and Parole. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) erred in denying A.D.T.’s motion to dismiss the petition regarding those conditions which were not originally set forth in the youth court’s disposition or transfer order; but (2) correctly determined that there were conditions of the underlying youth court disposition that were violated and thus did not err in imposing conditions pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. 46-18-201 through -203. View "In re A.D.T." on Justia Law

by
When E.G. was fifteen years old, the Youth Court found him to be delinquent and ordered that he be committed to the Department of Corrections until age eighteen. After remand, the Youth Court stated that it would retain jurisdiction until E.G. was twenty-one and consider transfer of the case to the district court. When E.G. turned eighteen, the Youth Court, after a hearing, transferred supervision of E.G. to the district court. E.G. subsequently violated his probation, and the district court sentenced him to the Department of Corrections until age twenty-five. E.G. appealed, arguing that the district court lacked jurisdiction to revoke his probation and sentence because his parents did not receive notice of the hearing on the State’s motion to transfer supervision of his probation from the Youth Court to the District Court. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the statutory parental notice requirement did not withdraw, circumscribe, limit or affect the Youth Court’s jurisdiction over the issue of transferring supervision of E.G. to the District Court. View "In re E.G." on Justia Law

by
The Youth Court declared A.S.M. a delinquent youth and serious juvenile offender. The Youth Court later issued an order under Mont. Code Ann. 41-5-208 ("section 208 order") transferring jurisdiction over A.S.M. to the district court and transferring supervisory responsibility of A.S.M. to the Department of Corrections (DOC). Pursuant to the order, A.S.M. was transferred to to Montana State Prison (MSP) on his eighteenth birthday and was not eligible for parole until he completed MSP’s sexual offender program. A.S.M. filed a motion to modify the order, requesting that the DOC send him to Whitney Academy in Massachusetts. The district court partially modified the section 208 order to remove the parole eligibility requirement but refused further to modify the order, thus keeping A.S.M. in the adult corrections system. A.S.M. appealed, requesting that the district court modify its order to facilitate his placement at the Academy by suspending his sentence and terminating supervision by the DOC. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err by refusing to further modify the section 208 order.View "In re A.S.M." on Justia Law

Posted in: Juvenile Law

by
Between December 11, 2011 and January 1, 2012, the Billings Police Department responded to more than 200 reports of vandalism. B.W., a youth, admitted to having committed acts of vandalism on December 22, 2011 and December 29, 2011. The youth court adjudicated B.W. a delinquent youth for having committed criminal mischief, common scheme and ordered B.W. to pay $78,702 in restitution, which represented the total damages sustained over the eleven-day vandalism spree. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the youth court erred in concluding that B.W. was jointly and severally liable for the full amount of restitution for damages where the State did not establish that B.W. was accountable for the crimes of others in which Defendant did not participate. Remanded for a new restitution hearing. View "In re B.W." on Justia Law

by
Robert Lee Colton Dietsch appealed his conviction for sexual assault of a twelve-year-old girl. Dietsch was seventeen at the time of the alleged assault. The State charged Dietsch as an adult. Dietsch moved to transfer prosecution from the district court to the youth court. The district court denied the motion. Dietsch later entered into a plea agreement whereby he agreed to plead guilt to one count of sexual assault in exchange for the State's agreement to drop a sexual consent without consent charge. Ultimately Dietsch received a deferred sentence of six years and sixty days. On appeal to the Supreme Court, Dietsch argued the district court abused its discretion in refusing to transfer his case to the youth court. The Supreme Court concluded sufficient evidence supported the district court's decision. However, the Court concluded the district court erred in its imposition of certain conditions on Dietsch, including setting an indeterminate amount for restitution, and failing to retain jurisdiction over the case until Dietsch reached age 21. Accordingly, the Court remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Montana v. Dietsch" on Justia Law

by
K.E.G., a fifteen-year-old male, admitted to committing acts of vandalism on two consecutive nights. The county attorney then filed a petition alleging that K.E.G. was a delinquent youth for having committed criminal mischief. Other youths involved in the vandalism were similarly charged. K.E.G. admitted to the allegations. At issue before the youth court was whether the State should hold K.E.G. jointly and severally liable for all damages caused by the vandalism, given that K.E.G. participated in only two of the eleven nights of vandalism. The youth court adjudicated K.E.G. a delinquent youth and ordered him to pay $78,702 in restitution, concluding that K.E.G. was jointly and severally liable for the full amount of restitution for damages caused by the youths. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the youth court's failure to fully consider K.E.G.'s ability to pay prior to imposing aggregate restitution constituted plain error. Remanded for a new restitution hearing. View "In re K.E.G." on Justia Law

by
After a jury trial, the youth court found that E.M.R., a youth under the age of eighteen, had committed five misdemeanor offenses of "dog at large" and one felony offense of aggravated animal cruelty. The convictions stemmed from E.M.R.'s treatment of her dogs and horses. E.M.R. appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded, holding (1) the youth court's instruction to the jury on the legislative purpose of the Youth Court Act was prejudicial error and required reversal of the aggravated animal cruelty adjudication; and (2) the youth court correctly declined to dismiss the "dog at large" charges. View "State v. E.M.R." on Justia Law