In re Welfare of S.M.E., No. A06-330.

CourtSupreme Court of Minnesota (US)
Writing for the CourtAnderson
Citation725 N.W.2d 740
PartiesIn the Matter of the WELFARE OF S.M.E., Child.
Docket NumberNo. A06-330.
Decision Date11 January 2007
725 N.W.2d 740
In the Matter of the WELFARE OF S.M.E., Child.
No. A06-330.
Supreme Court of Minnesota.
January 11, 2007.

Ann McCaughan, Office of the State Public Defender, Minneapolis, MN, for Appellant.

Lori Swanson, State Attorney General, St. Paul, MN, Michael A. Fahey, Carver County Attorney, Janet L. Barke Cain, Assistant Carver County Attorney, Chaska, MN, for Respondents.

Heard, considered, and decided by the court en banc.

OPINION

ANDERSON, G. Barry, Justice.


S.M.E. seeks review of a decision from the court of appeals holding that his appeal

Page 741

from a district court's adjudication was untimely. We hold that, in the unusual circumstances of this case, an out-of-time appeal should be granted in the interests of justice. Therefore, we reverse and remand to the court of appeals.

Petitioner S.M.E. was charged on April 14, 2005, with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving victims 24 months younger than him. S.M.E. admitted to the second count, which occurred when he was a 17-year-old juvenile, and was given a stay of adjudication and six months probation.

On December 12, 2005, the district court held a probation revocation hearing. At that hearing and at two previous hearings, S.M.E. admitted to multiple probation violations. On December 13, the district court issued findings and an order revoking the stay of adjudication. As a result, S.M.E. was placed on indefinite probation and ordered to register as a predatory sex offender, complete two days of community service, provide a DNA sample, and continue to attend therapy.

On December 19, S.M.E.'s attorney faxed a letter to the district court. The letter stated that it was written "pursuant to Minnesota General Rules of Practice 115.11, asking [him] to consider rehearing" the order revoking the stay of adjudication. The letter noted that a hearing had been scheduled for December 27, and that if the court decided not to hear the matter it would be removed from the calendar. As the basis for the rehearing, the letter asserted a lack of due process because the report of S.M.E.'s therapist was not provided to S.M.E. or the state in enough time for either to review it prior to the December 12 hearing.

There is no indication that the district court responded to the letter, but the court held the requested hearing on December 27 "for the purpose of arguing the motion for reconsideration." At the hearing, the court heard the testimony of S.M.E.'s therapist and received the probation officer's chronological records as exhibits. The court gave the parties two weeks to submit additional written responses to those exhibits. S.M.E. submitted additional information.

On January 12, 2006, the district court issued another set of findings and order. The findings were identical to those issued on December 13 except that they noted the December 27 hearing. The order, in its entirety, read: "The Juvenile's Motion for Reconsideration is hereby denied." Attached to the order was a new memorandum describing the court's "great difficulty in determining the proper course to take in this matter" and citing two reasons for denying the motion for reconsideration: (1) reservations about S.M.E.'s purported low risk to reoffend, and (2) concern for the integrity of the court in light of S.M.E.'s pattern of "impulsive and unlawful" behavior.

On February 13, S.M.E., represented by new counsel, filed a notice of appeal from the January 12 order. On February 15, the state filed a motion to dismiss the appeal, arguing that S.M.E. had thirty days to appeal the January 12 order and that the appeal was thus untimely. See Minn. R. Juv. Delinq. P. 21.03 (setting the time to file an appeal at thirty days).

On March 7, the court of appeals dismissed the appeal as untimely for a different reason. The court held that because the thirty-day appeal period beginning January 12 expired on a weekend, Minn. R. Juv. Delinq. P. 31.01 extended the time to file to the following Monday, February 13. S.M.E.'s appeal was therefore timely if the January 12 order was appealable. The court held, however, that the January 12 order was not appealable because

Page 742

neither the juvenile delinquency rules nor the civil appellate rules recognize a motion for reconsideration as one that extends the time to appeal.

S.M.E. petitioned this court for review, asserting that the December 19 letter extended the time to appeal and that the January 12 order was appealable. In the alternative, S.M.E. requests that we grant an out-of-time appeal either in the interests of justice or for ineffective assistance of appellate counsel for failure to file a timely notice of appeal.

Any effort to neatly apply procedural rules to the history of this case is fruitless. The December 19 letter was, on its face, a request to make a motion to reconsider under Minn. R. Gen. Prac. 115.11.1 That rule does not apply in juvenile delinquency proceedings. See Minn. R. Gen. Prac. 101. And the district court did not expressly give permission for S.M.E. to make the motion to reconsider as Rule 115.11 requires, although the court seems to have implicitly granted permission by holding the December 27 hearing.

At that hearing, the district court received the parole officer's chronological records as exhibits and heard brief testimony from S.M.E.'s therapist regarding his progress and risk to reoffend. Thus, the December 27 hearing, although purportedly for the purpose of hearing the motion for reconsideration, was also in the nature of an evidentiary hearing. The January 12 order was styled as a denial of the motion for reconsideration, but the expanded memorandum attached to the order detailed the court's great difficulty in deciding to adjudicate S.M.E., suggesting that the court did, in fact, "reconsider" his decision, although arriving at the same conclusion the court reached the first time.

The procedural effects of the letter, the hearing, and the order are thus open for debate, and S.M.E. invokes...

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28 practice notes
  • State v. Willis, A16-0275
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 12 Julio 2017
    ...Evidence do not apply to such proceedings. We granted review.ANALYSIS"We interpret procedural rules de novo." In re Welfare of S.M.E. , 725 N.W.2d 740, 742 (Minn. 2007). "When construing procedural rules, we look to the plain language of the rule and its purpose." Id. "Words and phrases are......
  • Walsh v. U.S. Bank, N.A., No. A13–0742.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 6 Agosto 2014
    ...724, 727 (Minn.2004). When interpreting a rule, we look first to the plain language of the rule and its purpose. In re Welfare of S.M.E., 725 N.W.2d 740, 742 (Minn.2007). “Where the language is plain and unambiguous, that plain language must be followed.” State v. Dahlin, 753 N.W.2d 300, 30......
  • Gassler v. State Of Minn., No. A09-1534.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 2 Septiembre 2010
    ...of justice. 11 First, we note that we have only applied the interests of justice in exceptional situations. See In re Welfare of S.M.E., 725 N.W.2d 740, 744 (Minn.2007) (discussing the application of the interests of justice in exceptional cases to allow out-of-time appeals to proceed); see......
  • S. Robideau Constr., Inc. v. Hiber, A16-0451
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Minnesota
    • 29 Agosto 2016
    ...Family P'ship v. Lac qui Parle-Yellow Bank Watershed Dist., 857 N.W.2d 50, 52-53 (Minn. App. 2014) (citing In re Welfare of S.M.E., 725 N.W.2d 740, 743 (Minn. 2007)). Under the Minnesota General Rules of Practice:Motions to reconsider are prohibited except by express permission of the court......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
28 cases
  • State v. Willis, A16-0275
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 12 Julio 2017
    ...Evidence do not apply to such proceedings. We granted review.ANALYSIS"We interpret procedural rules de novo." In re Welfare of S.M.E. , 725 N.W.2d 740, 742 (Minn. 2007). "When construing procedural rules, we look to the plain language of the rule and its purpose." Id. "Words and phrases are......
  • Walsh v. U.S. Bank, N.A., No. A13–0742.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 6 Agosto 2014
    ...724, 727 (Minn.2004). When interpreting a rule, we look first to the plain language of the rule and its purpose. In re Welfare of S.M.E., 725 N.W.2d 740, 742 (Minn.2007). “Where the language is plain and unambiguous, that plain language must be followed.” State v. Dahlin, 753 N.W.2d 300, 30......
  • Gassler v. State Of Minn., No. A09-1534.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 2 Septiembre 2010
    ...of justice. 11 First, we note that we have only applied the interests of justice in exceptional situations. See In re Welfare of S.M.E., 725 N.W.2d 740, 744 (Minn.2007) (discussing the application of the interests of justice in exceptional cases to allow out-of-time appeals to proceed); see......
  • S. Robideau Constr., Inc. v. Hiber, A16-0451
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Minnesota
    • 29 Agosto 2016
    ...Family P'ship v. Lac qui Parle-Yellow Bank Watershed Dist., 857 N.W.2d 50, 52-53 (Minn. App. 2014) (citing In re Welfare of S.M.E., 725 N.W.2d 740, 743 (Minn. 2007)). Under the Minnesota General Rules of Practice:Motions to reconsider are prohibited except by express permission of the court......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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