St. Paul Juvenile Rape Suspect Certified as Adult

Minnesota case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: MN juvenile justice, certification as adult.

In the Matter of the Welfare of: J.H., Child. . MN juvenile justice, certification as adult

J.H. was seventeen years old when he was charged in juvenile court with taking part in the rape of a fourteen-year-old girl. The trial court, Ramsey County, certified him to stand trial as an adult. Under Minnesota Statute 260B.125, there is a presumption in favor of certifying a 16 or 17 year old as an adult for serious felonies unless the juvenile establishes that remaining in juvenile court serves public safety. The trial court held that J.H. had not overcome this burden, and certified him to stand trial as an adult. The Court of Appeals, however, reversed, and held that the juvenile court must weigh the seriousness of the offense and delineate how the various factors impacted the decision. The state sought review by the Minnesota Supreme Court, which issued its opinion on March 19, 2014.

The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and reinstated the trial court's decision. The Supreme Court analyzed the trial court's findings and agreed that the juvenile had not overcome the presumption of the statute.

No. A12-1405 (Minn. Mar. 19, 2014).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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