This opinion was mentioned in the caselaw update at last week's juvenile conference. It's unpublished out of Eastland and states that it was not error for the court to deny a motion for severance in a case which included two completely unrelated offenses alleged in the same petition. An assault on a public servant and a burglary that happened several months apart were tried together over the respondent's objection. Are other jurisdictions pleading cases in this manner? We, as a matter of course, only join cases that involve common legal or factual questions. Seems like serious due process issues and highly prejudicial. Thoughts?
I'm with you but the language of the Juvenile Justice Code seems to be pretty liberal about joining multiple offenses in a single petition. I think the main language that supports this practice is in 53.04(d) which says that the petition must state the manner of the acts alleged.
I guess the distinction is that you aren't charging them with multiple crimes, you are alleging general delinquent conduct and the crimes are the proof.
There is also an older case that says that severance of offenses is not required in a transfer hearing and I think the logic is the same. Moore v. State, 713 S.W.2d 766.
And yes, we allege every pending case in a single petition here and I have yet to see a judge sever them.
Ditto. We allege all of a single juvenile's offenses in one petition unless one is a determinate offense.
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