Review of Recent Juvenile Cases (2011)
The Honorable Pat Garza
386th District Court
San Antonio, Texas
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Trial court did not err by entering the nunc pro tunc order and changing the title of the judgment from one adjudicating guilt to one revoking community supervision. [Hall v. State](12-4-10)
On July 26, 2012, the Fort Worth Court of Appeals held that the nunc pro tunc judgment entered in this case truthfully aligned with the judgment that the court originally rendered and did not change the judgment that the court originally rendered.
In as assault with bodily injury, engaging in reckless behavior is not the same as engaging in recklessly injuring someone. [In the Matter of I.L.](12-4-9)
On August 8, 2012, the El Paso Court of Appeals held that during an assault with bodily injury trial the trial court improperly submitted a jury charge which allowed the jury to adjudicate the juvenile delinquent for engaging in reckless behavior (a conduct-oriented charge) rather than recklessly injuring the complainant (a result-oriented charge).
In discretionary transfer to adult court, defendant was required to raise non-jurisdictional complaints immediately after deferral of adjudication. [Eyhorn v. State](12-4-8)
On August 10, 2012, the Amarillo Court of Appeals held that if non-jurisdictional complaints arise during the trial of a minor certified to stand trial as an adult, which trial results in a conviction, the complaints should be appealed immediately after conviction; if they arise in a proceeding that results in a deferred adjudication, they should be immediately appealed at that point.
Waiver of right of appeal may be effected by judgment â€œnunc pro tunc.â€[In the Matter of J.R.](12-4-7)
On August 16, 2012, the Waco Court of Appeals held that judgment nunc pro tunc rendered appellantâ€™s first appeal moot (issue corrected), but did raise issues for second appeal of the judgment nunc pro tunc itself.
Being 17 years old, appellant was not a juvenile within the terms of the statute at the time he was arrested, indicted, or tried.[Tolder v. State](12-4-6)
On August 21, 2012, the Houston Court of Appeals (14th Dist.) held that a conviction was not void where appellant was 17 at the time of arrest and indictment.
Juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in denying motion to dismiss for lack of due diligence by the prosecution. [In re B.R.H.](12-4-5)
On August 28, 2012, the Houston Court of Appeals (1 Dist.) denied mandamus relief finding that state acted with due diligence and holding that the amended petition (filed after childâ€™s eighteen birthday) related back to the filing date of the original petition (filed before child turned eighteen birthday), as a result, the statute's requirement that suit be filed before age eighteen had been met.
In discretionary transfer to adult court, juvenile court need not resolve admissibility of evidence prior to childâ€™s transfer to adult court.[Navarro v. State](12-4-4)
On August 30, 2012, the Houston Court of Appeals (1st Dist.) held that the juvenile court was not required to resolve the admissibility of appellant's statements before the transfer hearing.
Juvenile court has jurisdiction to grant applications for writs of habeas corpus in juvenile matters and its plenary power to vacate or modify those orders last for 30 days after they are signed.[In the Matter of R.G.](12-4-3)
On August 30, 2012, the Houston Court of Appeals (1st Dist.) held that the juvenile court abused its discretion and exceeded its plenary power when it vacated its order granting habeas corpus relief more than six months after granting said relief.
Trial court did not abuse its discretion in the committing child to TYC were parentsâ€™ homes were not considered suitable.
On September 12, 2012, the San Antonio Court of Appeals concluded that neither of juvenileâ€™s parents' homes could provide him with the quality of care and level of support and supervision necessary to meet the conditions of probation and as a result committed him to TYC.
A plea of true to a prior juvenile adjudication is sufficient to prove the conviction for enhancement purposes.
On September 20, 2012, the Amarillo Court of Appeals held that to the extent that appellant pled â€œtrueâ€ to the trial court's question about his being â€œfinally convictedâ€ of aggravated assault in cause number 9236â€“J# 1 (a juvenile adjudication), appellant implicitly admitted to both of the elements for a final conviction as defined in Â§ 12.42(f) of the Penal Code.
DISPOSITION PROCEEDINGSâ€”TRIAL COURT DID NOT ABUSE ITS DISCRETION BY COMMITTING JUVENILE TO THE TEXAS YOUTH COMMISSION SOLELY FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC AND THE SERIOUS NATURE OF THE OFFENSE.
12-3-9. In the Matter of D.P.H., No. 04â€“11â€“00823â€“CV, 2012 WL 2835140 (Tex.App.-San Antonio, 7/11/12).
Implied waiver by juvenile was sufficient when admonished by magistrate during confession.[In the Matter of C.M.](12-3-8C)
On February 22, 2012, the Waco Court of Appeals held that Family Code section 51.095 does not require an express waiver of rights, that an implicit waiver can be inferred from the actions and words of the person being interrogated.
Causal connection was not established where guardians were not allowed to speak with juvenile prior to giving his confession.[In the Matter of C.M.](12-3-8B)
On February 22, 2012, the Waco Court of Appeals found that guardianâ€™s testimony that if they had been able to speak with juvenile, they would have advised him not to make any statements prior to him speaking with an attorney, did not establish enough causal connection to grant Mo-tion to Suppress confession.
Trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying motion to suppress statement because juvenile was not in custody when the statement was made.[In the Matter of C.M.](12-3-8A)
On February 22, 2012, the Waco Court of Appeals held that the juvenile was not considered in custody when officer took him to an unmarked police car, where a recording device had been activated, to discuss what had happened in an armed robbery.
Court of Appeals can reform trial judgment to lesser included offense.[In the Matter of D.M.T.](12-3-7)
On May 31, 2012, the Fort Worth Court of Appeals reformed a burglary of a habitation adjudication to the lesser included offense of criminal trespass and remanded for a new disposition hearing.
Counsel rendered ineffective where prior juvenile adjudication was used as underlying offense in felon in possession charge.[Ex Parte Bell IV](12-3-6)
On May 23, 2012, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted application for writ of habeas corpus were juvenileâ€™s counsel was rendered ineffective because he failed to investigate and learn that the alleged prior juvenile felony conviction was not available as the predicate felony for the offense of felon in possession of a firearm.
The right to a jury trial in a juvenile case is not a constitutional right.[In the Matter of R.R.](12-3-5)
On May 24, 2012, the Houston Court of Appeals (14th Dist.) held that the right to jury trial provided in the Texas Constitution applies only to adults, and it is section 54.03 of the Family Code that creates a statutory right to a jury trial in juvenile proceedings, and as a result, violations are subject to harmless-error analysis.
Failure to serve juvenile with original summons voids all subsequent judgments including later Motion to Modify. [In the Matter of X.B.](12-3-4)
On May 25, 2012, the Texarkana Court of Appeals held that in the absence of an actual service of summons and a petition, the trial court was without jurisdiction to conduct the adjudication, disposition, and modification hearings, or to issue adjudication, disposition, and modification orders.
Fifteen-year-old was not in custody when he made incriminating statements in police station. [McCreary v. State](12-3-3)
On May 17, 2012, the Houston Court of Appeals (1 Dist.) held that the trial court was within its discretion in concluding that juvenile was not in custody at the time he made his recorded statement; consequently, the provisions of the Family Code governing the taking of a juvenile into custody and the admissibility of custodial statements by a juvenile did not apply.
False testimony by a licensed psychologist and registered sex offender treatment provider warranted habeas relief regarding sentencing.[In the Matter of M.P.A.](12-3-2)
On May 18, 2012, the Texas Supreme Court held that the state's use of unreliable expert testimony throughout closing argument at dispositional state of delinquency proceeding contributed to 20-year sentence, thus warranting habeas relief.
The El Paso Juvenile Board is a political subdivision of the state and has governmental immunity against suit. [El Paso v. Aguilar](12-3-1)
On May 9, 2012, the El Paso Court of Appeals dismissed a suit for want of jurisdiction against the El Paso Juvenile Board because it concluded that the El Paso County Juvenile Board's governmental immunity must be waived with respect to a retaliatory discharge lawsuit.
In Determinate Sentence transfer hearing, trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering juvenile transferred to state Department of Criminal Justice for completion of her murder sentence.[In the Matter of K.Y.](12-2-7)
On March 21, 2012, the Dallas Court of Appeals held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering juvenile transferred to state Department of Criminal Justice for completion of her sentence.
Evidence considered sufficient to support finding of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.[In the Matter of F.D.M.](12-2-6)
On April 12, 2012, the Houston (1 Dist.) Court of Appeals held that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's finding beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant committed the offense of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Evidence was considered sufficient to show specific intent to commit arson.[In the Matter of L.J.S.](12-2-5)
On April 19, 2011, the Eastland Court of Appeals affirmed arson adjudication concluding that a rational trier of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant had the specific intent to damage or destroy the house in question when he started the fire.
Writ of habeas corpus granted where juvenile plead to offense in adult court while still a juvenile.[Ex Parte Espinosa](12-2-4)
On April 25, 2012, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted an application for a writ of habeas corpus where trial court concluded that Applicant's counsel at the original plea was ineffective for failing to investigate and discover that Applicant was a juvenile, and to advise her that she was not subject to the jurisdiction of the criminal court.
Ninety-nine year sentence did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment for violation of deferred adjudication for juvenile who had been certified and transferred to adult court.[Diamond v. State](12-2-3B)
On April 25, 2012, the Beaumont Court of Appeals held that juvenileâ€™s ninety-nine year sentence for violating his aggravated robbery deferred adjudication did not constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1.09 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
Missing court reporterâ€™s record of hearing placing defendant on deferred adjudication was not error where appeal was from defendantâ€™s violation of his community supervision.[Diamond v. State](12-2-3A)
On April 25, 2012, the Beaumont Court of Appeals held that a defendant placed on deferred adjudication community supervision may raise issues relating to the original plea proceeding only in an appeal timely filed after the imposition of the deferred adjudication.
Evidence of unadjudicated juvenile offense is admissible in adult punishment hearing.[Alvarado v. State](12-2-2)
On March 9, 2012, the Amarillo Court of Appeals held that article 37.07, section 3(a), allows evidence of an unadjudicated juvenile offense to be admitted during punishment so long as it is relevant and shown beyond a reasonable doubt that it was the defendant that committed the offense.
MySpace postings admitted against defendant.[Tienda v. State](12-2-1)
On February 8, 2012, the Texas Criminal Appeals held that there were enough circumstantial indicia of authenticity regarding MySpace postings to support a prima facie case that would justify admitting the evidence and submitting the ultimate question of authenticity to the jury.
In graffiti prosecution, circumstantial evidence and witness testimony can support a finding that a marker is indelible.[In the Matter of M.S.](12-1-9)
On February 2, 2012, the Fort Worth Court of Appeals held that the evidence was legally sufficient to support the trial court's finding that Appellant used an indelible marker as defined by the statute.
Inaccurate parole-eligibility requirements provided by attorney made plea involuntary.[Ex parte Moussazadeh](12-1-8)
On February 15, 2012, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted habeas relief finding that the performance of applicant's counsel was deficient: in that parole-eligibility requirements are presumptively mandatory, and applicant's trial counsel provided incorrect advice even though the consequences of applicant's plea could have been easily determined by reading the applicable statute.
Personal service is not required on a juvenile for a determinate sentence probation transfer to adult court.[J.C.O. v. State](12-1-7)
On January 11, 2012, the San Antonio Court of Appeals held that because Section 54.05(d) of the Family Code requires only reasonable notice of a hearing on a motion to transfer, personal service is not required.
Certification Hearing was upheld were appellate record did not contain a court reporter's record of the certification hearing itself.[Carrillo v. State](12-1-6)
On December 6, 2011, the Amarillo Court of Appeals held that, the record contains information the juvenile court could have viewed as supporting its decision. A court does not abuse its discretion when it reaches a conclusion based on conflicting evidence
Evidence was insufficient to proof that retaliation was for â€œstatusâ€ of a Public Servant, when evidence showed retaliation for â€œserviceâ€ of a Public Servant.[In the Matter of J.S.R.](12-1-5)
On December 13, 2011, the Amarillo Court of Appeals found that because the State did not present any evidence that the threatened retaliatory conduct was on account of victim's status as associate principal (as alleged), it did not prove each element of the charged offense.
Trial Court had discretion to commit the child to TYC without first sending him to placement.[In the Matter of A.M.C.] (12-1-4)
On December 7, 2011, the San Antonio Court of Appeals held that given the evidence showing a continuing and increasingly severe pattern of delinquent conduct, the trial court had discretion to determine that TYC was the best place for the child, and was not required to first exhaust the alternatives of probation and outside placement.
Evidence was considered sufficient to show that juvenile committed the offense of assault.[In the Matter of T.N.T.](12-1-3)
On November 29, 2011, the Amarillo Court of Appeals concluded that the trial court could have determined beyond a reasonable doubt that juvenile committed the offense of assaultâ€”family violence and, further, could have determined beyond a reasonable doubt that T.N.T.'s actions were not in self-defense.
The Texas Family Code does not require the absence of law enforcement when the statutory warnings are given to the juvenile by the magistrate prior to a confession. [Herring v. State] (12-1-2)
On February 2, 2012, the Texarkana Court of Appeals found that the Family Code requires that law enforcement be outside the presence of the juvenile and the judge when a statement is reviewed by the judge and when the juvenile actually signs the statement, but not when the warnings are given by the magistrate to the juvenile.
Because Appellant did not object to the admission of the documents which he alleged was not provided prior to Discretionary Transfer Hearing, no error was found.[Thorn v. State](12-1-1B)
On November 23, 2011, the Tyler Court of Appeals concluded, because Appellant did not object to the admission of the documents, and because there was no hearing on the issue, there is no basis on which they could conclude that the juvenile court did not comply with its responsibility to provide the documents at least a day before the hearing.
In Discretionary Transfer Hearing, parent can waive service of process by appearing at the hearing.[Thorn v. State](12-1-1A)
On November 23, 2011, the Tyler Court of Appeals held that the juvenile court's failure to serve Appellant's mother did not deprive it of jurisdiction to consider the State's motion to transfer where mother appeared at transfer hearing.