Review of Recent Juvenile Cases (2011)

Review of Recent Juvenile Cases (2009)

by
The Honorable Pat Garza
Associate Judge
386th District Court
San Antonio, Texas

 

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Trial court could have believed several scenarios in finding state acted with due diligence in waiver to adult court for over 18 transfer. [Rosales v. State](09-4-10)

On November 4, 2009, the San Antonio Court of Appeals held that trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the State acted with due diligence in juvenile court's order to waive its jurisdiction and transfer case to a criminal district court.

Criminal trial court is improper forum for review of due diligence question on order waiving jurisdiction to adult court after 18. [State v. Rhinehart](09-4-9)

On October 12, 2009, the Dallas Court of Appeals held that, in a discretionary transfer proceeding of a juvenile after he turns 18, the adult trial court is not the proper forum to review the sufficiency of the evidence regarding the lack of due diligence by the state in proceeding before 18.

The trial court erred in conducting a bench trial with no affirmative jury waiver as required by Section 51.09. [In the Matter of S.G.](09-4-8)

On October 14, 2009, the Waco Court of Appeals held that a trial court is under a duty to commence a trial by jury unless that right is properly, affirmatively waived by the juvenile and his counsel.

Evidence was legally and factually sufficient to support the finding that respondent committed the offense of terroristic threat. [In the Matter of I.A.G.](09-4-7C)

On October 1, 2009, the Beaumont Court of Appeals held that circumstances described in the record were sufficient to support the jury's conclusion that respondent, who stood beside a vehicle with a tire iron while others simultaneously threatened the homeowner, intended to place the homeowner in fear of serious bodily injury.

Under the law of parties, presence at the scene along with other actions made the evidence legally sufficient to prove the offense of deadly conduct. [In the Matter of I.A.G.](09-4-7B)

On October 1, 2009, the Beaumont Court of Appeals concluded that under the law of parties, respondent's presence and actions tend to show his agreement to commit the offense of deadly conduct while engaged in organized criminal activity as a member of a criminal street gang.

Evidence was legally sufficient to establish that respondent engaged in organized criminal activity, as a member of a criminal street gang. [In the Matter of I.A.G.](09-4-7A)

On October 1, 2009, the Beaumont Court of Appeals held that respondent was a member of the Norte 14 street gang and members of the Norte 14 street gang were involved in criminal activity on a regular basis, thus respondent was a member of a criminal street gang under the code.

In a juvenile case, absent a timely motion for new trial, a notice of appeal must have been filed within thirty days of the date the trial court's judgment was signed. [In the Matter of M.R.H.](09-4-6)

On October 2, 2009, the Dallas Court of Appeals held found that the judgment about which appellant appears to complain was rendered in 2001, and was therefore untimely raised in 2009.

Trial court's error in admitting appellant's illegally obtained statement was harmful error requiring reversal of his conviction.[In the Matter of D.J.C.](09-4-5C)

On September 24, 2009, the Houston (1 Dist) Court of Appeals held that they could not determine beyond a reasonable doubt that the erroneous admission of appellant's statement, in which he confessed to having sex with the complainant, did not contribute to his conviction.

Violations of Family Code requirements regarding police interactions with juvenile, including non compliance with juvenile processing office and parental presence requirements deemed juvenile statement inadmissible.[In the Matter of D.J.C.](09-4-5B)

On September 24, 2009, the Houston (1 Dist.) Court of Appeals held that appellant's electronically recorded custodial statement was taken in violation of sections 52.02(a), 52.025(a), (b)(5), and (c), and 51.095(a)(1)(A) and (a)(5) of the Family Code, and thus violated appellant's substantial rights, and as a result was inadmissible in his adjudication hearing under section 54.03 of the Code.

In light of all the circumstances, appellant was in custody at the time he made his statement and, therefore, the provisions in the Family Code governing the admissibility of the custodial statement of a juvenile apply.[In the Matter of D.J.C.](09-4-5A)

On September 24, 2009, the Houston (1 Dist.) Court of Appeals held that by excluding appellant's grandmother from the interview room, having the magistrate judge read appellant his rights, and then returning the child to the interview room and locking it, was a sufficient restraint of freedom of movement to be associated with formal arrest.

Mother's support for commitment to TYC does not necessarily require that an ad litem be appointed.[In the Matter of J-M.W.D.](09-4-4)

On September 9, 2009, the San Antonio Court of Appeals found that even though mother supported trial courts decision to commit appellant to TYC, nothing in the record suggesting that appellant's mom was not capable or willing to make decisions in appellant's best interest.

Evidence was factually sufficient to support deadly conduct adjudication.[In the Matter of E.S.](09-4-3)

On August 26, 2009, the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals concluded that in viewing the evidence in a neutral light, the evidence is not so weak that the conviction seems clearly wrong and manifestly unjust, and the trial court's determination is not against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence.

In a Determinate Sentence transfer hearing, the juvenile court retains jurisdiction over a person, to determine whether they should be transferred to TDCJ, without regard to the age of the person.[In the Matter of T.L.S.](09-4-2)

On August 19, 2009, the Tyler Court of Appeals denied Respondent's plea to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, holding that the amended Family Code statutes applied prospectively and did not affect the jurisdiction of the juvenile court to consider whether to order individuals in this cohort to be transferred to TDCJ.

A mistrial is required only in extreme circumstances where the prejudice is incurable.[In the Matter of D.J.T.](09-4-1)

On August 19, 2009, the Tyler Court of Appeals could not conclude that the impermissible questions and answers in this case caused the kind of incurable prejudice that could not be adequately addressed by the trial court's repeated instructions to the jury.

Thirteen year old student's search of bra and underpants by school officials violated Fourth Amendment rights.[Safford v. Redding](09-3-7)

On June 25, 2009, the Supreme Court of the United States held that because there were no reasons to suspect that the drugs in question (ibuprofen and over-the-counter naproxen) presented a severe enough danger or were concealed in her underwear, the search of a thirteen year old did violate the Constitution, but the official who ordered the unconstitutional search was entitled to qualified immunity from liability.

Commitment to TYC not considered cruel and unusual punishment.[In the Matter of J.M.](09-3-6)

On June 16, 2009, the Texarkana Court of Appeals held that juvenile failed to establish that his commitment to TYC was cruel and unusual punishment.

An oral request for an instruction on the mistake-of-fact defense and dictating a proposed instruction on the record does not satisfy the requirements of Rule 278 Civil Rules of Procedure.[In the Matter of F.L.R.](09-3-5)

On June 10, 2009, the Waco Court of Appeals held that while the defense of mistake-of-fact was raised by the evidence, counsel failed to preserve for appellate review the trial court's refusal to submit an instruction on the defense.

Evidence was factually insufficient to show that juvenile used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense.[In the Matter of L.A.](09-3-4)

On June 10, 2009, the Waco Court of Appeals concluded that conflicting evidence was so strong as to render the jury's verdict clearly wrong and manifestly unjust regarding whether juvenile used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.

No right to appointed counsel in habeas corpus relief for juvenile offender who has been transferred to adult facility.[In re Hall](09-3-3)

On November 12, 2009, the Supreme Court of Texas held that the Juvenile Justice Code does not provide juvenile offender who has been transferred to an adult facility the right to appointed counsel to pursue habeas corpus relief challenging the legality of his imprisonment.

In ineffective assistance of counsel, deficient performance must damage defense such that there was a reasonable probability that the result of the trial would have been different.[In the Matter of J.T.B.](09-3-2)

On May 27, 2009, the Texarkana Court of Appeals held that in determining whether juvenile received ineffective assistance of counsel, failure to satisfy either prong of the two-pronged Strickland test (1. Counsel's performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness; 2. Such performance damages the defense such that there was a reasonable probability that the result would have been different) renders the argument flawed.

The offense of consumption of alcohol by a minor does not require a culpable mental state.[Florance v. State](09-3-1)

On May 8, 2009, the Dallas Court of Appeals held that consumption of alcohol by a minor is a strict liability offense and the lack of a culpable mental state does not render the offense unconstitutional.

In theft adjudication, evidence was legally and factually insufficient to sustain the finding that the tire stolen had a value of at least $50.[In the Matter of O.A.G.](09-2-9)

On March 12, 2009, the Austin Court of Appeals held that testimony regarding the fair market value of a wheel on one vehicle does not establish the fair market value of a wheel on a different vehicle even where both vehicle are the same year, make and model.

Jury can not consider indeterminate sentence in a determinate sentence case.[In the Matter of J.B.L.](09-2-8)

On March 5, 2009, the Eastland Court of Appeals held that due process rights were not violated were grand jury certified petition upon probable cause as apposed to jury deciding same issue beyond a reasonable doubt.

Motion for New Trial need not be presented to preserve factual sufficiency error.[In the Matter of C.J.](09-2-7)

On February 5, 2009, the Houston Court of Appeals (1 Dist.), held that a complaint about factual sufficiency need not be presented in a motion for new trial in a juvenile adjudication of delinquency to preserve it for appeal.

Admission of uncertified TYC packet considered erroneous.[Rangel v. State](09-2-6B)

On March 4, 2009, the Waco Court of Appeals held that where the custodian of the 'pen packet' is not the custodian of the original judgment, and cannot attest to the correctness of the original documents, and the records are not self-authenticating, the documents are not admissible.

Warrantless arrest was reasonable were respondent only addressed his constitutional complaints.[Rangel v. State](09-2-6A)

On March 4, 2009, the Waco Court of Appeals held that since trial counsel did not specifically mention Chapter 14 in his warrantless-arrest objection; he mentioned only state and federal constitutional provisions and article 38.23, he failed to preserve his Chapter 14 complaint for appeal.

Appellant was not denied the right to meaningful review even though the record failed to show evidence the trial court considered at the disposition hearing.[In the Matter of J.L.H.](09-2-5)

On January 28, 2009, the Waco Court of Appeals found that they had a full record for review even where two exhibits listed as support for the required trial court's findings were not actually attached as stated in the order.

Evidence was sufficient to justify the exercise of the trial court's discretion in modifying disposition.[In the Matter of J.M.](09-2-4)

On February 10, 2009, the Amarillo Court of Appeals held that the trial court's decision to modify disposition was not arbitrary and unreasonable and thus, did not amount to an abuse of discretion.

Court of Appeals may modify the trial court's order modifying disposition to commit appellant to TYC to reflect the trial court's oral pronouncement.[In the Matter of L.L., Jr.](09-2-3)

On February 10, 2009, the Amarillo Court of Appeals modified the trial court's order to reflect the trial court's oral findings that the child, in the child's home, cannot be provided the quality of care and level of support and supervision that the child needs to meet the conditions of probation.

Routine administrative searches at alternative school were considered permissible under the Fourth Amendment.[In the Matter of P.P.](09-2-2)

On February 11, 2009, the San Antonio Court of Appeals held that a routine administrative search, at alternative school, which required students to take off their shoes, socks, and belt, and submit to a pat down was permissible under the Fourth Amendment.

Trial court did not abuse it's discretion in reducing bail for juvenile certified to adult court to $200,000.[Ex Parte Wilson](09-2-1)

On February 11, 2009, the San Antonio Court of Appeals held that bail set at $200,000 for juvenile certified as adult for the offense of murder did not violate constitutional and statutory prohibitions against excessive bail.

A complaint on appeal which does not comport with the Motion to Suppress at trial, fails to preserve that argument for review.[McNichols V. State](09-1-13)

On January 29, 2009, the Houston Court of Appeals (14 Dist.) held that since appellant's written motion to suppress was not based on TFC §52.02(b) (parental notification), he failed to preserve that argument for review.

Search by school administrator of male juvenile's waistband for marijuana considered reasonable.[In the Matter of A.H.A.](09-1-12)

On December 30, 2008, the Austin Court of Appeals held that lifting of shirt of male to expose waistband and placing thumbs in waistband between pants and gym shorts, and moving hands outward in search for marijuana was reasonable related in scope to circumstances at hand (no pun intended) for administrative search for marijuana at school.

Juvenile Court continues to have jurisdiction, of those children at TYC, who were over 19 years of age when Senate Bill 103 went into effect, for transfer to TDCJ.[In the Matter of J.J.](09-1-11)

On December 31, 2008, the Austin Court of Appeals concluded that the versions of sections 61.079(a) and 61.084(g) of the human resources code in effect at the time this respondent was adjudicated delinquent in 2005 govern TYC's referral of him to the juvenile court for possible transfer.

Evidence was sufficient to sustain trial court's decision to grant State's Motion For Discretionary Transfer to Adult Criminal Court in capital murder prosecution.[Sepulvado v. State](09-1-10)

On December 23, 2008, the Tyler Court of Appeals held that if the evidence establishes enough of the factors in TFC §54.02(f) to convince the juvenile court that a transfer is in the best interest of the child and community, they would not disturb that order.

Error in adjudication admonishment by trial court considered waived where no objection made by respondent's attorney.[In the Matter of C.D.H.](09-1-9)

On December 16, 2008, the Texarkana Court of Appeals held that where trial court admonished the child that he could be committed to TYC until his eighteenth birthday, failure to objected waived error.

Juvenile modifications of disposition hearings based on violations of conditions of probation have reduced due process protections.[In the Matter of J.A.S.](09-1-8)

On December 18, 2008, the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals held that a petition to modify disposition that informed appellant that his discharge from Gulf Coast was unsuccessful and provided the date in which the violation occurred, gave adequate notice.

Defendant in a plea-bargained case may not raise the voluntariness of his plea on appeal.[Turner v. State](09-1-7)

On December 18, 2008, the Eastland Court of Appeals found that a plea-bargaining defendant may pursue the remedy of withdrawing his plea, because it was not voluntary, by filing a motion for new trial in the trial court or by filing a habeas corpus.

Appellate court has authority to allow respondent to be released on personal bond pending appeal.[In the Matter of A.W.B.](09-1-6)

On December 18, 2008, the Amarillo Court of Appeals concluded that Respondent had failed to meet his burden of showing sufficient reason why the appellate court should supersede the judgment of the trial court and release him on personal bond pending appeal.

If trial objection does not comport with objection on appeal, error has not been preserved.[Chaves v. State](09-1-5B)

On December 18, 2008, the Houston Court of Appeals (1 Dist), held that inculpatory statements made during an earlier writ of habeas corpus hearing were admissible at subsequent trial where objection at the time of the statement did not correspond with the objection made on appeal.

Statements by co-actor, which is against his self interest, may be used in probable cause determination to arrest respondent.[Chaves v. State](09-1-5A)

On December 18, 2008, the Houston Court of Appeals (1st Dist), conclude that co-actor's statement was a statement against his self-interest and therefore inherently credible and thus could be used to establish probable cause to take appellant into custody.

An order transferring a case to another county for disposition is not appealable.[In the Matter of M.A.O.](09-1-4B)

On December 10, 2008, the San Antonio Court of Appeals concluded that Section 51.07 of the Texas Family Code, does not authorize an appeal from an order transferring a disposition to another county.

Do you guys have anything on you that you are not suppose[d] to have?not considered custodial interrogation by police officer.[In the Matter of M.A.O.](09-1-4A)

On December 10, 2008, the San Antonio Court of Appeals, held that when the circumstances show that the individual acts upon the invitation or request of the police and there are no threats, express or implied, that he will be forcibly taken, then that person is not in custody at that time.

While the offense of drag racing and causing a person's death is a traffic offense, it is punishable by imprisonment or confinement in jail, and is therefore delinquent conduct and the juvenile court has jurisdiction over it.[In the Matter of A.M.M.](09-1-3)

On December 11, 2008, the Houston Court of Appeals (1 Dist), held that the juvenile court has jurisdiction over the offense of drag racing and causing a person's death because it is an offense punishable by imprisonment or confinement which in turn makes it delinquent conduct.

In Criminal Mischief prosecution evidence was sufficient to show damage to door, even where testimony was that door had to be replaced.[In the Matter of M.S.M.](09-1-2)

On December 4, 2008, the Austin Court of Appeals held that, viewed in the light most favorable to the result, the testimony at trial supported the court's finding that it would cost $50 or more to repair the damage to the door.

To be exempt from registration as a sex offender, the juvenile bears the burden of persuasion by a preponderance of the evidence that the two criteria necessary to exempt him have been met.[In the Matter of J.D.D.](09-1-1)

On November 18, 2008, the Dallas Court of Appeals held that a trial court may exempt a juvenile from registering as a sex offender if he shows that (1) registration would not increase the protection of the public and (2) any potential increase in protection of the public resulting from registration is clearly outweighed by the anticipated substantial harm to the juvenile or his family that would result from registration.