We have an issue with our juvenile department, and we are trying to come up with courtroom procedures to get the requisite evidence in the record to support a TYC commitment that will survive appeal under 54.04(i)(1)(B). The problem arises when we have a first-time offender with no real history with the department, but the crime is such that the judge orders commitment. What kind of evidence needs to be in the record to support a TYC disposition under 54.04(i)(1)(B) on first-time offenders? Oh yeah, assume the probation department will not comment on the appropriateness of any specific program. Is there any support for the argument that certain crimes dictate that preventing removal is not reasonable? I can't find any. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Don't focus so much on (B)that you forget (A) and (C). They are all important. That said I would start by supoenaing the school records - including all discipline records and records of any counselling. If he has a discipline history, have the parents worked with the school? I would also try to obtain information on the parent's activities and work schedules. Do they travel for work so that they are out of the home? Who supervises child? Do they have another child with special needs that takes too much of their time and attention to the detriment of this child? What kind of work schedule do they have? Who supervises after school before parent gets home? (Some of this may or may not be relevant to your case but you get the idea.) What kind of support system do the parents have? Are there relatives or grandparents that step in? (Don't just take the parents word for it - get the people in there.) Also check criminal histories on everyone who would have contacts with the kid. Do the parents do the things that show that they have good parental judgement? Do they have weapons in the home? Are they secured properly? Do they have alcoholic beverages in the home? How often do they consume? Are they overwhelmed with their own problems? Someone has a health issue? Other problems? Does the school know the parents? Some of this has to be tempered to the offense - why did he do it - why was he able to do it? You need to show any lack of supervision or control by the parents.
Also - do the parents have a plan for their child's activities? A plan for constant supervision? Do they have the resources to provide any kinds of rehabilitative services the child might need? Do they have health insurance? Will it cover counselling? Psychiatic care? Drug therapy? Drug rehab?(if necessary).
I think you get the idea - and then you have to tailor your efforts to the nature of your case and the child. In a lot of ways you are having to do what probation usually does through their report to the court. Good Luck - also keep in mind that if he really is a "good kid" from a family with resources and who will make the appropriate effort - you might have more control over him on a long probation than by committment to TYC because they will simply parole him.
More thoughts - WHY won't the probation department do their job? They are the social workers and their role is to recommend situations that would rehabilitate the child. You might need to talk with your judge. Why does he tolerate the probation department not doing their job? Another thought - if the offense is very serious perhaps it is eligible to be submitted under determinate sentencing.
|Powered by Social Strata
© TDCAA, 2001. All Rights Reserved.