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In the Matter of:

December 5, 2012

IN THE MATTER OF: S.M.K.-S.H., A YOUTH.


APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Eighteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Gallatin, Cause No. DJ 09-20A Honorable Holly Brown, Presiding Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Beth Baker

Submitted on Briefs: September 26, 2012

Decided: December 5, 2012

Filed:

Clerk

Justice Beth Baker delivered the Opinion of the Court.

¶1 S.M.K.-S.H. appeals a dispositional order from the Montana Eighteenth Judicial District Youth Court, Gallatin County (Youth Court). After the youth violated the terms of his initial probation agreement, the court revoked that agreement and entered a dispositional order that extended the youth's probationary period for an additional three years. We affirm.

¶2 We address the following issues on appeal:

¶3 1. Did the Youth Court exceed its statutory authority by imposing on revocation an additional three-year probationary term that lasts until S.M.K.-S.H's twenty-first birthday?

¶4 2. Did the imposition of an additional three-year term of probation violate S.M.K.-S.H's constitutional right to equal protection of the laws?

PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

¶5 On December 15, 2009, the State filed a petition seeking a determination that fourteen-year-old S.M.K.-S.H. was a delinquent youth or a youth in need of intervention. The State alleged that the youth committed assault with a weapon, a felony, in violation of § 45-5-213, MCA, when he struck a fellow student in the head with a glass bottle and then punched him in the nose. Initially, the youth denied the State's allegations.

¶6 On June 29, 2010, S.M.K.-S.H. entered a signed admission to the charge filed against him. That same day, the Youth Court held a hearing at which the court accepted the youth's admission and set a dispositional hearing for August 3, 2010.

¶7 At the dispositional hearing, the court declared that S.M.K.-S.H. was a delinquent youth for committing assault with a weapon. The Youth Court entered a dispositional order, which committed S.M.K.-S.H. to its jurisdiction and placed him on probation until his eighteenth birthday. As part of its order, the Youth Court expressly forbade S.M.K.-S.H. from owning, possessing or being in control of any firearms or other deadly weapons.

ΒΆ8 On October 3, 2011, when S.M.K.-S.H. was sixteen years old, the State filed a petition to revoke his probation and to take the youth into custody. That action was prompted by a report from the youth's probation officer that S.M.K.-S.H. had violated the terms of his probation agreement by possessing a 9mm handgun. The Youth Court authorized the State to take the youth into custody and, on November 7, ...


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