I've never had this particular situation come up, and I was wondering if anyone else had some experience in it. We have a juvenile (16 at the time) charged with possession of alcohol. She appealed to county court and then to the appeals court.
Are Class C juveniles handled the same way as regular juvenile cases? We do very few juvenile appeals, and never a Class C one, so I was just wondering if there's any distinction.
Juvi Class C cases handled by the muni or JP court are handled just as any other Class C case in that court with the exception of parental presence and some optional dispositions, that includes appeals.
If the Class C offense is referred to the juvi court from the JP/muni court PRIOR to adjudication, then it is handled as any other juvenile case.
This was handled in the muni and county courts like any other Class C case. But now that it's gotten to the court of appeals, they've decided to treat it like a full-blown juvenile case. I was wondering if I should say anything, and if so, what to cite in support.
Tell me what you mean when you say treat it like a juvi case ? As far as confidentiality or dispositions or something else ??
Set on the civil docket, with a civil cause number and all the confidentiality, accelleration, and different caselaw that comes with it. We haven't done briefing yet, so I'm just trying to figure out where we stand on it now.
Wow ! It just seems so elementary to me but not being an appellate person maybe I'm missing some Appellate Rule that turns a Class C case on a juvenile to a Juvenile case by virtue of it going to County Court. If there is such a rule out there, I'd love to know about it so some of you juvi/appellate gurus jump in here please !
Class C offenses by definition are NOT juvenile cases [TFC 51.03 (b)(1) and (f)] unless tranferred to the juvenile court prior to adjudication. The Family Code even expressly eliminates files and records of the muni/jp courts from the disclosure restrictions of juvenile files [TFC 58.007(a)(2)].
Barring the transfer of the case from the jp/muni court to the county court prior to adjudication, I just don't see how it can be treated as a juvi case if it doesn't meet the definition.
You might post on the appellate section to see if someone there knows better than I.
I totally agree with what Stacey has said so far. I have handled cases involving juvenile-age defendants that were "appealed" from the JP court to the county court - but never one that was then further appealed to the court of appeals. I am curious what happened in this particular case that caused it to this situation.
Class C cases involving juvenile-age defendants in JP court are handled according to the provisions in CCP Ch. 45 which does have some special rules for these defendants - mainly that they must appear in open court accompanied by their parents. When they are appealed - the next step is the same as for adults - county court has jurisdiction - and the only problem I could see there is if somehow you got into a situation where, as a disposition of the case, they tried to lock up a juvenile-age person in an adult lockup.
The only thing I can think of is that somehow the court of appeals is focusing on the "Contempt" situation - where a juvenile is referred to juvenile court by a JP - and the appeals court is confusing that with what actually happened - which appears to be that they asked to appeal and it was sent to county court, which was the proper next step.
Andrea - we never answered your question - what to cite as far as the law in support of the case not being treated as a juvenile case. I would first be looking to point out that there is NOTHING in the juvenile justice code that give the juvenile court jurisdiction - and thus invokes the mantle of juvenile protections and procedures. First I would look at the provisions in FC Ch 51 - 51.03a - no referral was made for Contempt - and no referral under 51.08- and there may be some other provisions in that chapter that are applicable. Then I would look at CCP Ch 45 - starting with Art. 45.042 "Appeal". Also I would point out the the defendant wasn't ordered to do something by the JP and failed to do it - thus justifying a contempt referral to juvenile court - what happened is that they requested an appeal and it properly went to county court where it should thereafter be handled according to county court procedures for such cases. The only limits should be the federal laws which prohibit locking up underage defendants with adults.
Thanks for the replies, Stacey and Kris! Sorry I didn't reply sooner, but I was out of the office last week. I'm going to put some kind of preliminary response into my brief, attacking treating the case as a juvenile one, so I appreciate the cites! We'll see what the appellate court does with it.
Just as an update, we got an opinion on the case today, and Dallas re-classified it as a criminal case. The case is Amanda Florance v. State.
And a link (2009 WL 1267350).
[This message was edited by AndreaW on 05-11-09 at .]
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