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In re M.M.

Supreme Court of North Dakota

March 13, 2019

In the Interest of M.M., a child State of North Dakota, Petitioner and Appellee
v.
M.M., Child, Respondent and Appellant and J.G., Mother, R.M., Father, Respondents

          Appeal from the Juvenile Court of Burleigh County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Wayne D. Goter, Referee.

          Tessa M. Vaagen, Assistant State's Attorney, Bismarck, ND, for petitioner and appellee.

          Kevin McCabe, Dickinson, ND, for respondent and appellant.

          OPINION

          MCEVERS, JUSTICE.

         [¶1] M.M. appeals from a juvenile court order denying his motion to dismiss a juvenile petition pertaining to an underlying juvenile delinquency case after entering conditional admissions to committing delinquent acts of simple assault and contact by bodily fluids. We affirm the juvenile court's order.

         I

         [¶2] On October 17, 2017, a juvenile petition was filed with the juvenile court, alleging M.M. committed simple assault and contact by bodily fluids or excrement at Home on the Range. At the time the juvenile petition was filed, M.M. resided at the Youth Correctional Center ("YCC"). The juvenile summons scheduled a hearing "for the purpose of hearing the Petition made and filed with this Court" to take place on November 7, 2017. A separate Notice of Initial Hearing, Pretrial Conference, and Trial specified that prior to the pretrial conference, "[a]ll pretrial motions shall be served and filed with the Court in such time that they may be heard not later than the date for the pretrial." M.M. made his initial appearance on November 7, 2017, a pretrial conference was scheduled for November 14, 2017, and a trial was set for November 27, 2017. On November 21, 2017, M.M. moved to dismiss the petition, arguing the hearing on the petition was not held within the required time limits for a child in detention. M.M. simultaneously requested a continuance in order to allow him to complete discovery. The State opposed the motion to dismiss, arguing the motion itself was untimely and that M.M. was not a child in detention. The juvenile court denied M.M.'s motion to dismiss but granted his request for a continuance, delaying the trial an additional month. On January 16, 2018, M.M. admitted to the allegations of delinquent acts on a conditional basis, preserving his right to appeal.

         II

         [¶3] Section 27-20-56, N.D.C.C., provides an aggrieved party may appeal from a final order, judgment, or decree of the juvenile court. On appeal from a juvenile court order, this Court reviews a juvenile court's findings of fact under the clearly erroneous standard. In re H.K., 2010 ND 27, ¶ 19, 778 N.W.2d 764 (relying on In re J.K., 2009 ND 46, ¶ 13, 763 N.W.2d 507, explaining change from trial de novo based on changes in N.D.R.Civ.P. 52(a)). The interpretation of a statute is a question of law, which is fully reviewable on appeal. In re R.A., 2011 ND 119, ¶ 24, 799 N.W.2d 332 (citation omitted).

         III

         [¶4] On appeal, M.M. argues the juvenile court erred by denying his motion to dismiss because the hearing on the petition was not held within 30 days of the filing of the petition. M.M. conceded at oral argument that he was no longer contesting a violation regarding the timing of the initial hearing on the petition.

         [¶5] M.M. relies on N.D.C.C. § 27-20-24 and N.D.R.Juv.P. 2(a)(3), to support his argument that the juvenile court improperly denied his motion to dismiss the petition. Section 27-20-24(2), N.D.C.C., states:

If the hearing has not been held within the time limit, or any extension thereof, required by subsection 1 of section 27-20-22, the petition must be dismissed.

(Emphasis added.) However, N.D.C.C. § 27-20-22 has been superseded by N.D.R.Juv.P. 2, 5, and 10. See N.D.C.C. ยง 27-20-22 (noting "[s]uperseded by N.D.R.Juv.P., Rules 2, 5, and 10"); N.D.R.Juv.P. 2, 5, and 10, ...


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