Justia Juvenile Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in South Dakota Supreme Court
State v. Bettelyoun
In these three consolidated appeals the Supreme Court held that the State has discretion to charge juveniles under the provisions of either S.D. Codified laws 32-23-1 or S.D. Codified Laws 32.23-21.Defendants, all minors under the age of eighteen, were charged as adults in separate cases for driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than .08, in violation of section 32-23-1(1). Each defendant filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that their status as juveniles stripped the magistrate courts presiding over their cases of jurisdiction. The magistrate courts dismissed the motions, and the circuit courts affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendants failed to support their argument that the language of the relevant statutes prevents the State from charging them in magistrate court with violations of section 32-23-1. View "State v. Bettelyoun" on Justia Law
In re D.S.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court committing D.S., a fourteen-year-old male, to the Department of Corrections (DOC), holding that the circuit court did not err.D.S. was adjudicated for possessing a stolen motor vehicle and aggravated eluding. After a dispositional hearing, the circuit court denied D.S.'s request for a probationary sentence based on an expert's opinion that D.S. could be treated in the community and granted the State's request that D.S. be placed with the DOC. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion or clearly err in finding that there was no viable alternative to DOC commitment and that a DOC commitment was the least restrictive alternative in this case. View "In re D.S." on Justia Law
In re D.S.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court committing seventeen-year-old D.S. to the custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC) pursuant to S.D. Codified Laws 26-8C-7 after adjudicating him of first-degree rape, holding that the court committed reversible error because its findings and conclusions were insufficient to permit meaningful review.In announcing its disposition, the circuit court did not address whether the recommendations before it for community supervision and outpatient treatment were viable alternatives to DOC custody or whether commitment to the DOC was the least restrictive alternative in D.S.'s best interest. The day after the deposition hearing, the court entered written findings of fact and conclusions of law stating simply that there were no other viable alternatives and that commitment to the DOC was the least restrictive alternative. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that remand was required for the circuit court to make findings on the viability of a community-based supervision and treatment alternative and to reimpose a disposition consistent with the requirements of section 26-8C-7. View "In re D.S." on Justia Law
Interest Of N.A.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court declaring N.A. a delinquent child, holding that the circuit court erred by finding that Officer Brandon Bassett did not use excessive force against N.A.When responding to a possible drive-by shooting at N.A.'s family's apartment, Officer Bassett was told by N.A. that the messages she had sent her mother reporting the drive-by shooting were a prank. Officer Bassett, believing that N.A. was impeding the investigation, grabbed N.A., pulled her down onto a mattress on the floor and handcuffed her. N.A. kicked Officer Bassett during the altercation. The State subsequently brought this petition alleging that because she assaulted a law enforcement officer, N.A. was a delinquent child. The circuit court declared N.A. to be a delinquent child. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Officer Bassett used excessive force to detain N.A. and, on remand, the circuit court should complete the analysis of N.A.'s self-defense claim. View "Interest Of N.A." on Justia Law
In re Interest Of I.T.B.
The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's adjudication of I.T.B. as a delinquent child, holding that the evidence in the record was insufficient to support a determination that I.T.B. had made a terroristic threat.The circuit court adjudicated I.T.B. a delinquent child for making a terrorist threat in violation of S.D. Codified Laws 22-8-13(1). The adjudication was based on I.T.B.'s conduct at a high school principal's office. Specifically, I.T.B. uttered the word "bomb" in earshot of other students and also picked up some scissors and uttered the words "kill someone." The Supreme Court reversed the adjudication, holding that I.T.B.'s utterances, without further context, were insufficient to support a determination beyond a reasonable doubt that I.T.B. threatened to commit a "crime of violence" or an "act dangerous to human life involving...any explosive device" with the intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, as required by section 22-8-13(1). View "In re Interest Of I.T.B." on Justia Law
In re J.L.
J.L. was fourteen when he engaged in consensual sexual intercourse with his twelve-year-old girlfriend. A juvenile petition was filed against J.L., and the circuit court adjudicated J.L. as a delinquent under S.D. Codified Laws 22-22-1(1), a statute under which the girlfriend was legally incapable of giving consent and under which J.L. would have been convicted of rape in the first degree had J.L. been an adult. On appeal, J.L. argued that the application of the statute to the facts of this case created an absurd result, one not reasonably intended by the legislature. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that application of the statute to the facts did not suggest an unintended absurdity. View "In re J.L. " on Justia Law