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In the Interest of D.F.

May 15, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF D.F., MINOR CHILD, D.F., MINOR CHILD, APPELLANT.


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Christine Dalton, District Associate Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mullins, J.

A minor child appeals the juvenile court's ruling adjudicating him to be delinquent. AFFIRMED.

Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.

A minor, D.F., appeals from the order of the juvenile court finding him to be delinquent based on his commission of the following offenses: (1) burglary in the third degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 713.6A(1) (2011); (2) possession of burglary tools, in violation of section 713.7; and (3) criminal mischief in the second degree, in violation of section 716.4. On appeal he alleges the State failed to provide corroboration for the accomplices' testimony linking him to the offenses. He also claims there is not sufficient evidence of his commission of the offenses. For the reasons stated, we affirm his adjudication.

I. BACKGROUND FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS.

Fourteen-year-old D.F. and four other minors were walking around Davenport, Iowa, after a party on the night of September 11, 2011. The group entered the park and broke into the concession stand attempting to steal drinks. A witness called police, and when the police arrived, the group took off running. The officers were able to catch three of the juveniles.

A delinquency petition was filed against D.F. and the others. D.F.'s case proceeded to a hearing where three of the other four minors testified. A.R. and M.M. testified for the State after accepting plea deals. D.M.*fn1 testified on behalf of D.F. Also testifying were the officers who stopped the burglary and an officer who photographed the scene.

The juvenile court adjudicated D.F. delinquent based on his commission of all three counts. It placed D.F. on probation with Juvenile Court Services for one year, ordered him to complete community service and pay restitution, required him to attend school daily and complete all assignments, and ordered him to submit to DNA testing and complete any other referrals made by the JCO. D.F. appeals the adjudication asserting the accomplices' testimony was not sufficiently corroborated and sufficient evidence does not support his adjudication.

II. SCOPE AND STANDARD OF REVIEW.

Our review of delinquency proceedings is de novo. In re A.K., 825 N.W.2d 46, 49 (Iowa 2013). We give weight to the factual findings of the juvenile court, though we are not bound by them. Id. "We presume the child is innocent of the charges, and the State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the juvenile committed the delinquent acts." Id. The State in this appeal requests we change the standard of review for sufficiency claims based on the standard of review in criminal proceedings. This request has been addressed and rejected by our supreme court in A.K. Id. at 49--52.

III. ACCOMPLICE CORROBORATION.

The main testimony against D.F. came from A.R. and M.M. D.F. claims he cannot be convicted based on their testimony alone because they are accomplices, and their testimony has to be supported by corroborative evidence. He claims there is no corroborative evidence that connects him to the crimes, and therefore, we must reverse the adjudication order and order the entry of a judgment of acquittal.

Iowa Rule of Juvenile Procedure 8.13 provides:

An adjudication of delinquency shall not be entered against a juvenile based upon the testimony of an accomplice or a solicited person unless corroborated by other evidence which tends to connect the juvenile with the commission of the offense; and the corroboration is not sufficient if it merely shows the commission of the offense or the ...


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