Review of Recent Juvenile Cases (2011)

Review of Recent Juvenile Cases (2010)

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

 

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In arson adjudication, restitution order in the amount of $248,429.37 was set aside because it was not adequately supported by the record.[In the Matter of D.S.W.](10-4-5)

On September 1, 2010, the San Antonio Court of Appeals set aside a restitution order and remanded the case for a new hearing on restitution because the amount the trial court ordered in restitution was not adequately supported in the record and required some amount of speculation

In court statement by witness identifying respondent with, I'm not positively sure, but I think so. held to be factually sufficient. [In the Matter of N.K.M.](10-4-4B)

On September 1, 2010, the San Antonio Court of Appeals held that the presence of corroborating facts or circumstances connecting the accused to the crime, when coupled with a less-than-certain eyewitness identification, may be sufficient to support the jury's finding of identity.

In motion to suppress in-court identification, officer's statement to witness that a person of interest was in the photo lineup did not give rise to a very substantial likelihood of irreparable misidentification.[In the Matter of N.K.M.](10-4-4A)

On September 1, 2010, the San Antonio Court of Appeals held that respondent failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that the in-court identification of respondent was unreliable due to a impermissibly suggestive pre-trial procedure.

Neither a determinate sentence probation transfer order nor a court's refusal to amend the conditions of probation (once transferred) is appealable.[In the Matter of B.L.C.](10-4-3)

On September 29, 2010, the El Paso Court of Appeals agreed with juvenile's counsel when he stated that a juvenile court's order transferring a determinate sentence probation to an adult district court or the court's refusal to amend the conditions of probation when transferred were not appealable orders.

Parents of juvenile offender could not be ordered to submit to drug test as a condition of their daughter's probation.[Idaho v. Doe](10-4-2)

On June 1, 2010, the Idaho Supreme Court held that it was a violation of the Fourth Amendment for a magistrate to require parents to involuntarily submit to random urinalysis drug tests as a condition of their daughter's probation.

Plea-bargain that required seventeen year old (minor) to voluntarily waive any right to an expunction in order to enroll in a pre-trial diversion program is binding on the minor. [In the Matter of the Expunction of D.R.R.](10-4-1)

On August 11, 2010, the El Paso Court of Appeals held that minors have the capacity to enter into contracts for pre-trial diversion programs, and as a result are bound by their conditions.

Evidence was legally sufficient to support the delinquency finding of aggravated sexual assault of a child.[In the Matter of F.J.S.](10-3-5)

On May 26, 2010, the El Paso Court of Appeals held that viewing the evidence the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence was legally sufficient to support the delinquency finding for the offense of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Trial Court did not abuse its discretion in reducing juvenile's determinate sentence probation from six years to a little less than five months.[In the Matter of E.E.](10-3-4)

On May 19, 2010, the El Paso Court of Appeals held that by failing to object to any procedural defect or any lack of notice, with regard to the trial courts reduction of juvenile's determinate sentence probation, the state failed to preserve the issue for review.

A mandatory life sentence without the option of parole, for a juvenile who commits capital murder before September 1, 2009, is constitutional.[Forcey v. State](10-3-3)

On May 19, 2010, the Waco Court of Appeals held that given that the legislature chose not to apply the parole eligibility amendment retroactively to juveniles who have been certified to adult court and sentenced for a capital murder, it would not be appropriate for the court to judicially amend the statute.

Trial Court did not abuse its discretion removing the child from the home for violating a CHINS probation.[In the Matter of B.L.B.](10-3-2)

On May 20, 2010, the Austin Court of Appeals concluded that the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the child, who had been adjudicated a child in need of supervision, had already been given an opportunity to complete her probation at home, tested dirty for marijuana, and that a different placement was now appropriate.

In writ of mandamus by a juvenile, it is the juvenile's burden to show, with a sufficient record, that he has a right to mandamus relief. [In re B.T.](10-3-1)

On May 21, 2010, the Tyler Court of Appeals held that because the juvenile failed to include certain reports in the mandamus record, they could not decide whether the juvenile had an inadequate remedy by appeal and as a result could not fully consider whether the trial court's order constituted an abuse of its discretion.

Life without parole for a juvenile offender who commits a nonhomicide crime is unconstitutional. [Graham v. Florida](10-2-18)

On May 15, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the eighth amendment's cruel and unusual punishments clause does not permit a juvenile offender to be sentenced to life in prison without parole for a nonhomicide crime.

Juvenile court has no authority to force the State to prosecute juvenile under the determinate sentence statute. [Bleys v. State](10-2-17)

On May 12, 2010, the San Antonio Court of Appeals held that the decision to refer a petition to the grand jury is at the State's option, and if the State never refers the petition, the trial court has no jurisdiction to order determinate sentencing.

Evidence was sufficient to support trial court's finding that juvenile engaged in delinquent conduct by committing aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and placing him on probation for a determinate sentencing.(10-2-16)

On May 13, 2010, the Austin Court of Appeals held that the evidence was legally and factually sufficient to support the court's finding that the juvenile used a deadly weapon and to support the court's rejection of his self-defense claim.

Evidence was factually sufficient to support deadly conduct adjudication. [In the Matter of Z.J.R.](10-2-15)

On March 3, 2010, the San Antonio Court of Appeals held that evidence was factually sufficient to support juvenile's adjudication as delinquent based upon commission of offense of deadly conduct.

Evidence was sufficient to establish offense of attempted aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. [In the Matter of V.R.](10-2-14)

On March 10, 2010, the Waco Court of Appeals held that evidence was sufficient to establish that juvenile's act of placing knife in trunk of car and grabbing it out of trunk was an act amounting to more than mere preparation that tended but failed to effect the commission of the offense of attempted aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Expungement of 17 year-old's record was improper where plea bargain stated that he had waived his right to expunge his record. [In the Matter of Expunction of D.R.R.](10-2-13)

On February 10, 2010, the El Paso Court of Appeals held that even though defendant was 17 at the time of his plea, he could not later use his status as a minor to attack a condition of his plea agreement he didn't like.

Evidence in aggravated assault disposition was considered factually sufficient to support TYC commitment. [In the Matter of A.C.](10-2-12)

On April 29, 2010, the Fort Worth Court of Appeals, applying the civil standard of review, found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in committing child to TYC, in that the evidence was not so weak, or so contrary to the overwhelming weight of all the evidence, that the disposition should be set aside and a new trial ordered.

Testimony from store employee was sufficient to establish ownership in shoplifting adjudication. [In the Matter of R.L.S.](10-2-11)

On April 15, 2010, the Eastland Court of Appeals found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by finding that testimony from employee was sufficient to establish that manager was owner of property under theft petition, even though manager did not appear in court to testify.

Where assertions of violations of constitutional rights in juvenile's motion for new trial were vague and untimely, no error was preserved for appeal. [In the Matter of J.R.N., III.](10-2-10)

On Aril 1, 2010, the Beaumont Court of Appeals held that constitutional challenges to the trial court's evidentiary rulings should be raised at trial and at the time the trial court sustained the State's objections to the admission of the proffered evidence.

Juvenile's motion for new trial was sufficient to encompass, and preserve, his complaint on appeal. [In the Matter of R.D.](10-2-9)

On February 12, 2010, the Supreme Court found that juvenile's motion for new trial was sufficient to encompass, and preserve, his complaint on appeal that jury's rejection of his affirmative defense of duress had no evidentiary support, warranting reversal.

Failure to object at trial to the amount of child support ordered by the trial court fails to preserve issue for appeal.[In the Matter of J.S.H.](10-2-8)

On March 18, 2010, the Houston Court of Appeals (1 Dist.), held that by not objecting to amount of child support ordered at trial, juvenile's parent failed to preserve error for appeal, however, the court mentioned that the issue of whether a motion to modify the child-support payments may be filed by the parent was not presented.

Juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in committing juvenile to TYC on first referral to juvenile court.[In the Matter of J.A.](10-2-7)

On March 10, 2010, the San Antonio Court of Appeals held that, in a robbery disposition, a trial court is not required to exhaust all possible alternatives before sending a juvenile to TYC.

Failure to timely serve respondent for Certification and Transfer Hearing deprived criminal district court of jurisdiction over him.[Maldonado v. State](10-2-6)

On March 12, 2010, the Amarillo Court of Appeals held that in a Certification and Transfer Hearing, the failure to serve summons on juvenile in a timely manner, deprived the juvenile court of its jurisdiction to transfer this matter to the district court and, therefore, the district court never acquired jurisdiction over appellant.

Affirmative links established that appellant's connection with packages of marijuana found hidden in vehicle he was driving across border were more than just fortuitous.[In the Matter of H.G.G.D.](10-2-5)

On February 24, 2010, the El Paso Court of Appeals concluded that the jury could have rationally found beyond a reasonable doubt all of the essential elements of the offense charged, including care, control, and management of marihuana, and that appellant intentionally or knowingly possessed the contraband.

Objection to juvenile enhancement was not preserved for appeal where respondent's objections at trial did not comport to that which was asserted on appeal.[Longoria v. State](10-2-4)

On February 25, 2010, the Amarillo Court of Appeals held that since the substance of respondent's objection to juvenile's state jail felony enhancement focused on the lack of prior notice and failed to comport with that asserted on appeal, the matter was not preserved.

Evidence was factually sufficient to negate respondent's theory of self-defense.[In the Matter of M.A.J.](10-2-3)

On February 26, 2010, the Austin Court of Appeals held that the juvenile court could have reasonably inferred from the evidence that respondent was the aggressor in assault, negating respondent's position that he was justified in using force against victim.

Dog sniff of student's property in class room while students asked to wait outside was considered constitutional.[In the Matterof D.H.](10-2-2)

On March 5, 2010, the Austin Court of Appeals held that, considering the low level of intrusion on student's limited privacy rights and the evidence about the drug problem at the school, the seizure of student's backpacks, to be sniffed by drug dogs, effectively addressed the problem of student drug use and served the important governmental interest in protecting the students' safety and health.

Appellate court must remand for appointment of new counsel where appellate issues exist irrespective of filing of Anders brief.[Menson v. State](10-2-1)

On February 18, 2010 the Amarillo Court of Appeals abated juvenile's appeal and remanded case for appointment of new counsel where old counsel filed Anders brief, and Appellate Court found that potential appellate issues existed.

Family Code does not require that a respondent give prior notice of intent to assert the defense of lack of responsibility due to mental illness or mental retardation.[In the Matter of A.W.B.](10-1-8B)

On February 2, 2010, the Amarillo Court concluded that the Family Code does not require that a respondent give notice of intent to assert the defense of lack of responsibility due to mental illness or mental retardation, and as a result, the trial court abused its discretion in sustaining the State's objection to doctor's report regarding juvenile's mental condition.

An unnoticed outcry statement may still be admissible if the statement is admissible under a hearsay exception.[In the Matter of A.W.B.](10-1-8A)

On February 2, 2010, the Amarillo Court of Appeals held that failure to meet the statutory requisites for an outcry statement was not error where witness's statement was admissible as an excited utterance.

Hearsay by (unnoticed) outcry witness was admissible to rubut an express or implied charge of fabrication or improper influence.[In the Matter of A.C.T.](10-1-7B)

On February 3, 2010, the San Antonio Court of Appeals held that hearsay testimony from an outcry witness, which the state failed to properly notify juvenile's counsel of, was admissible as a hearsay exception where the testimony was offered to rebut an express or implied charge of recent fabrication or improper influence or motive.

In aggravated sexual assault adjudication, evidence was sufficient to establish that the juvenile committed the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.[In the Matter of A.C.T.](10-1-7A)

On February 3, 2010, the San Antonio Court of Appeals held that, the evidence when viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's finding, was sufficient for a rational trier of fact to have found that the elements of aggravated sexual assault beyond a reasonable doubt.

Granting of deferred prosecution by prosecutor must be in writing, signed and filed in the record of the cause to be enforceable.[In the Matter of R.C.](10-1-6)

On February 4, 2010, the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals held that while a prosecutor has the discretion to defer prosecution of a juvenile without court approval in certain circumstances, the agreement must comply with Tex.R. Civ. P. 11, to be enforceable.

Denial of parent's access to juvenile during confession not grounds for reversal on appeal.[Grant v. State](10-1-5C)

On January 27, 2010, the Waco Court of Appeals found that, section 61.103 of the Texas Family Code provides that parents have a right of access to their child, however, however, if the parent is denied the right of access, the child may not raise that complaint on appeal.

In court's denial of juvenile's motion to suppress his confession, no error was shown where no causal connection was established.[Grant v. State](10-1-5B)

On January 27, 2010, the Waco Court of Appeals held that trial court did not err in denying juvenile's motion to suppress since juvenile had the burden of proving a causal connection between the alleged violation of section 52.02(b) and his statement and no evidence of a causal connection was presented.

In discretionary transfer proceeding, probable cause was established of the juvenile as a party, by acting with the intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense of murder.[Grant v. State](10-1-5A)

On January 27, 2010, the Waco Court of Appeals held that in a discretionary transfer preceding the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in finding sufficient facts and circumstances to warrant a prudent person to believe that the suspect committed the offense of murder as a party acting with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense.

By failing to argue Confrontation Clause in trial, juvenile waived those objections on appeal.[Robinson v. State](10-1-4)

In January 28, 2010, the Houston Court of Appeals (14th Dist.), stated that when a party's argument for admitting evidence could refer to either the Rules of Evidence or the Confrontation Clause, he must specifically articulate that the Confrontation Clause demands admission of the evidence to preserve error on this ground.

Evidence was insufficient to support finding that mother contributed to delinquency of the juvenile in graffiti adjudication.[In the Matter of S.J.C.](10-1-3)

In January 6, 2010, the El Paso Court of Appeals reversed a portion of a judgment finding that the evidence was legally insufficient to support the trial court's finding that the juvenile's mother by willful act or omission, contributed to, caused, or encouraged the child's delinquent conduct.

Restitution allowed where damage of vehicle occurred while child engaged in offense of evading arrest.[In the Matter of E.A.R., IV](10-1-2)

On November 20, 2009, the Austin Court of Appeals held that damage caused by juvenile committing the offense of evading arrest was damage for which the juvenile was criminally responsible.

In a Motion to Suppress, a trial judge can base his pre-trial ruling on the contents of an unsworn police report.[Ford v. State](10-1-01)

On October 21, 2009, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and affirm the trial court's judgment concluding that art. 28.01, § 1(6), does not mandate that all information considered by a trial judge must be accompanied by affidavit or testimony.