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How the state's juvenile justice system works

The juvenile justice system in Minnesota is structured differently than the adult justice system, and it operates using its own specific terminology. Rather than being arrested, charged and found guilty of a crime, a juvenile offender is apprehended, petitioned and found to have committed an offense. Further, the juvenile is not sentenced to prison but is given a disposition to be placed in a correctional facility.

A juvenile between the ages of 10 and 17 who is suspected of committing a crime will be treated much differently than a juvenile under the age of 10. When police apprehend a child under the age of 10, the case is considered social services-related. Age is also an important consideration when the juvenile is between 14 and 17. If a felony offense is committed during these years, a juvenile may be tried and sentenced as an adult.

Minnesota financial manager accused of multimillion dollar fraud

A Minnesota financial planner has been indicted in relation to his alleged involvement in a Ponzi-scheme-style fraud. The 41-year-old Eden Prairie resident was indicted in federal court on August 5. Prosecutors claim that the planner duped over 50 investors into giving him money that he said would be put into legitimate investments. The man allegedly led the investors to believe that they would receive high returns of up to 10 percent per year from the investments.

However, prosecutors claim that rather than making actual investments, the man put the money towards a Ponzi scheme, using new investors' money to make interest payments and using the excess cash for himself. He allegedly bilked investors out of at least $10 million over the course of the scheme, which prosecutors say ran from 2007 until April 2014.

Prosecutors plan to appeal judge's decision in bomb plot case

On July 30, prosecutors said they plan to appeal a judge's decision to dismiss two counts of attempted first-degree damage to property and four counts of attempted first-degree murder against a Minnesota teen. The teen was taken into custody on May 1 after a neighbor reported his strange behavior to authorities.

According to police, the teenager wrote in detail about how he wanted to murder both his family and as many students as possible by planting a bomb at his high school. The juvenile will still face six charges of possession of explosive devices. The teen reportedly had a storage locker containing materials used to make bombs and ammunition. The young man's defense lawyer has been attempting to have him placed in a mental health facility rather than the juvenile facility where he is currently being held. The judge decided to postpone the decision whether to try the defendant as a juvenile or an adult until the appeals process has concluded.

Man kills his wife in alleged drunk driving accident

A Minnesota man was accused of driving drunk when he ran over his wife and killed her on July 24. The alleged drunk driving accident happened in Minnetonka Beach when the 57-year-old man and his wife returned to their home. According to the man, he was unaware that his wife had gotten out of the vehicle until she yelled that he was running her over.

Before she died of blunt-force injuries at a hospital in Robbinsdale, the man's wife told paramedics that her husband had run her over by accident. However, police say that the man's blood alcohol content was over the legal limit of .08 percent at the time of the fatal incident; his BAC level tested at .155 percent.

Former pro baseball player accused of domestic violence

Minnesota baseball fans may be interested to learn that Chuck Knoblauch, a retired Major League Baseball player, was detained by local authorities after claims of domestic violence on July 23. According to the report, the 46-year-old Knoblauch was accused of physically assaulting his wife.

The former baseball player's wife claimed that her husband became enraged after she decided to sleep with her child in another room rather than sleep next to him. As a result, she claimed that he pushed her head into a wall before he allegedly threw a humidifier at her. The police report indicated that she suffered some physical injuries, including a large bruise on her arm, a knot on her forehead and a scratch on the side of her face.

Minnesota man sentenced after pleading guilty to DWI charge

A 30-year-old Vergas man was sentenced to one year in jail on July 17 for driving with a blood alcohol level of more than four times the .08 percent legal limit. The man will be required to serve 40 days of the one-year sentence followed by six years of probation. The man received his sentence after entering a guilty plea to a charge of gross misdemeanor DWI. Three other misdemeanor charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

The man's vehicle was pulled over after a Vergas police sergeant observed the car drifting across the roadway. The officer also said that the driver of the vehicle did not appear to be wearing a saat belt. Authorities say that they had received reports of a vehicle being driven erratically containing two children not buckled into car seats. The sergeant says that the man admitted that he was intoxicated and should not have been behind the wheel. A breath test found the man's blood alcohol level to be .343 percent.

4 men charged in alleged mortgage fraud scheme

On July 9, a federal grand jury accused four men in Minnesota of taking part in a mortgage fraud scheme. A 34-year-old man from East Bethel, 41-year-old man from Excelsior, 57-year-old man from Burnsville and 65-year-old man from Little Canada were all charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and eight counts of wire fraud.

The fraud charges stemmed from alleged illegal activities that the defendants had allegedly designed to defraud mortgage lenders. The scheme involved excess unsold real estate that the defendants would allegedly pretend to sell to recruited buyers at inflated prices. During the sale, the defendants would reportedly conceal the fact that they were fronting the down payments and paying the buyers kickbacks. Loan applications and other paperwork would also be forged.

Minnesota nonprofit chief accused of 6-figure fraud

Federal prosecutors have accused a St. Paul woman who formerly operated two nonprofit organizations of stealing government funds intended for the organizations. The 57-year-old woman's nonprofits had been focused on preventing teen pregnancy and assisting various minority groups. According to charges read in federal court on July 11, the woman had used grant money set aside for the nonprofit groups to pay for personal expenses, including designer clothing and handbags. In total, the woman is accused of taking more than $460,000.

According to the criminal complaint, money set aside by the Minnesota Department of Health to fight sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy and to provide housing assistance to families in need had instead been used to pay for the defendant's personal expenses, such as her mortgage and car payments. The alleged fraud took place over the course of more than four years, ending in late 2012. That same year, the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor said that it had found evidence that the woman had fabricated documents in order to cover up the fraud.

Minnesota man sentenced in fatal suspected DWI crash

A Douglas County District Court judge has sentenced a 19-year-old Alexandria resident to serve time in relation to a deadly highway accident that occurred more than one year ago. In accordance with a plea agreement reached with prosecutors, the judge sentenced the teenager to serve 41 months imprisonment. The teenager had pleaded guilty to a single count of vehicular homicide on May 14; he had been charged with three counts prior to the plea deal.

The Alexandria teenager was charged in the aftermath of a May 25, 2013, crash that occurred on Interstate 94. The teenager and his passenger were reportedly headed home after a graduation party in Sauk Center when their vehicle sideswiped a semi-truck during an attempted pass. The vehicle rolled onto the median; according to authorities, the 18-year-old passenger was unresponsive when he was found near the vehicle while the driver received non-life-threatening injuries. A blood test later measured the driver's BAC at .14 percent.

Authorities focus on juvenile curfew violations

Law enforcement officers in Minnesota are reportedly cracking down on those under the age of 18 who stay out past their curfew. According to the report, certain cities, such as St. Paul, are developing a program that connects those who violate the curfew law with case management services to help keep them out of trouble.

Part of the problem, however, is that many of the youth who are picked up have nowhere to go. Many may wander in an attempt to go to a homeless shelter or to avoid going home, where they may not feel safe. Others get into trouble because they simply do not know that there is a curfew or what time that curfew actually begins. Juvenile center data shows that 80 percent of kids who were brought in for curfew violations were never cited for another violation.

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