C.B. v. State of Indiana ( 2013 )


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  • FOR PUBLICATION                                           May 21 2013, 8:39 am
    
    
    
    
    ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT:                         ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE:
    
    VICTORIA L. BAILEY                              GREGORY F. ZOELLER
    Marion County Public Defender Agency            Attorney General of Indiana
    Indianapolis, Indiana
                                                    AARON J. SPOLARICH
                                                    Deputy Attorney General
                                                    Indianapolis, Indiana
    
    
                                   IN THE
                         COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA
    
    C.B.,                                           )
                                                    )
            Appellant-Respondent,                   )
                                                    )
                   vs.                              )      No. 49A04-1207-JV-379
                                                    )
    STATE OF INDIANA,                               )
                                                    )
            Appellee-Petitioner.                    )
    
    
            APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT, JUVENILE DIVISION
                         The Honorable Marilyn A. Moores, Judge
                        The Honorable Scott B. Stowers, Magistrate
                             Cause No. 49D09-1203-JD-801
    
    
                                           May 21, 2013
    
                                   OPINION – FOR PUBLICATION
    
    BAKER, Judge
              In this case, a juvenile entered into a conditional admission agreement pursuant to
    
    which she admitted to committing what would have been class A misdemeanor Battery1 if
    
    committed by an adult. In exchange, the State agreed to dismiss a separate delinquency
    
    petition. Additionally, if the juvenile did not violate the agreement for ninety days, the
    
    remaining delinquency petition would also be dismissed.           However, if the juvenile
    
    violated the agreement, the juvenile court would determine that the agreement had failed,
    
    and her case would proceed immediately to disposition.
    
              Before the ninety days had expired, the juvenile was arrested for what would have
    
    been class A misdemeanor battery if committed by an adult. The juvenile court noted
    
    that probable cause had been found for the new offense and set the matter for a
    
    disposition hearing. Immediately before proceeding to disposition, however, the new
    
    delinquency petition was dismissed. Nevertheless, the juvenile court determined that the
    
    conditional admission agreement had failed and sentenced the juvenile to formal
    
    probation.
    
              On appeal, the juvenile argues that she was denied due process when the juvenile
    
    court would not permit her to present evidence regarding probable cause after the new
    
    delinquency petition was dismissed.        We conclude that before a juvenile court can
    
    determine that a conditional admission agreement has failed based upon probable cause
    
    that a new offense has been committed, the juvenile court must independently find
    
    
    
    1
        Ind. Code § 35-42-2-1.
                                                   2
    probable cause instead of merely relying on the probable cause finding that authorized
    
    the filing of the delinquency petition.          Additionally, a juvenile must be given a
    
    meaningful opportunity to challenge the existence of probable cause. Here, because the
    
    juvenile court relied solely on the finding of the probable cause that supported the filing
    
    of the new delinquency petition, and C.B. was not given a meaningful opportunity to
    
    challenge probable cause, we reverse.
    
                                                FACTS2
    
           On March 9, 2012, nine-year-old L.H. had just exited her school bus when eleven-
    
    year-old C.B. punched her in the face, causing her pain. L.H. and C.B. were neighbors,
    
    and their families had been involved in ongoing disputes.
    
           On March 23, 2012, the juvenile court ordered the State to file a delinquency
    
    petition under cause number 49D09-1203-JD-801(JD-801), alleging that C.B. was a
    
    delinquent child for committing what would have been class A misdemeanor battery if
    
    committed by an adult. In the same order, the juvenile court also authorized the State to
    
    file a delinquency petition under cause number 49D09-1203-JD-799 (JD-799), which
    
    arose from allegations that C.B. and her brother struck a six-year-old in the face and ribs
    
    after the victim exited his school bus. Like the JD-801 petition, the JD-799 petition
    
    alleged that C.B. was a delinquent child for committing what would have been class A
    
    misdemeanor battery if committed by an adult.
    
    
    
    2
      We held oral argument on April 8, 2013, in Indiana Court of Appeals courtroom in Indianapolis. We
    thank counsel for their informative and illustrative oral advocacy.
                                                    3
           On April 18, 2012, the State and C.B. entered into a conditional admission
    
    agreement. Under the agreement, C.B. entered an admission in JD-801 in exchange for
    
    the State’s dismissal of JD-799. The juvenile court was to take the agreement under
    
    advisement, and if C.B. did not violate the terms for ninety days, the State would dismiss
    
    the JD-801 petition. Some of the terms included in the agreement provided that C.B.
    
    shall not:
    
           (a) commit any new offenses, (b) violate the terms of [her] probation (if
           currently on probation), (c) violate the conditions of [her] release ordered
           by the Court, or (d) commit any act that results in [her] receiving an in-
           school or out-of-school suspension or being suspended or expelled from
           school.
    
    Appellant’s App. p. 39. Additionally, the agreement provided that if the juvenile court
    
    determined that there was probable cause to believe that C.B. had violated the agreement,
    
    including the provisions above, “the Court and parties will proceed to disposition and the
    
    terms of the plea agreement will be “‘Open Argument to the Court at the Dispositional
    
    Hearing.’” Id.
    
           On April 25, 2012, the juvenile court noted that C.B. “has picked up a new
    
    offense, that has been authorized for filing” under cause number 49D09-1204-JD-1088
    
    (JD-1088). Appellant’s App. p. 41. More particularly, C.B. had been arrested for what
    
    would have been class A misdemeanor battery if committed by an adult.
    
           On May 23, 2012, the juvenile court held an initial hearing during which it noted
    
    that the court had found that probable cause existed under JD-1088 based on the very fact
    
    that it had been filed. Consequently, C.B. had violated the terms of her conditional
    
                                                4
    admission agreement. The juvenile court set the matter for a disposition hearing on May
    
    30, 2012.
    
           Before proceeding to disposition on May 30, 2012, the State requested a
    
    continuance because the mother of the listed victims had contacted the State, stating that
    
    they would not make the hearing because of illness. The motion was denied, and the
    
    State moved to dismiss JD-1088.
    
           The juvenile court informed C.B. that JD-1088 had been dismissed but that she
    
    still had to proceed to disposition from the conditional admission agreement.          The
    
    probation department requested additional time to prepare its report, and the disposition
    
    hearing was set for July 6, 2012. Additionally, C.B.’s counsel requested to be heard on
    
    the issue of probable cause even though he conceded, “I understand at the last hearing
    
    based upon the finding of probable cause [in JD-1088] that [the] conditional plea
    
    agreement was shown as failed.” Tr. p. 6. The juvenile court informed him that his
    
    arguments would have to wait until disposition stating, “if an additional charge is filed
    
    after the Court finds probable cause on top of a[] [conditional] agreement . . . and then I
    
    have to subsequently hear [a] probable cause hearing, that’s fine I will do so, but tread
    
    lightly if you want to present another conditional to this Court.” Id. at 7.
    
           At the July 6, 2012 disposition hearing, C.B.’s counsel again requested to present
    
    evidence regarding probable cause on cause number JD-1088.               The juvenile court
    
    immediately questioned its jurisdiction to hear evidence regarding probable cause on a
    
    dismissed case, but counsel argued that while the State presented the probable cause
    
                                                  5
    affidavit, “we had not complete[d] any investigation as of the initial hearing on that
    
    case.” Tr. p. 11.
    
           The State countered that probable cause was found at the initial hearing. The
    
    juvenile court again questioned its jurisdiction over a dismissed case but determined that
    
    even “assuming for the sake of argument that the Court does, for purpose of this hearing,
    
    I’m just going to deny the motion to reconsider probable cause as to the previously . . .
    
    dismissed matter [JD-1088].” Id. at 16.
    
           The juvenile court proceeded to disposition, where it incorporated the
    
    predisposition report providing for probation, counseling to be arranged for C.B.’s
    
    mother at Reach for Youth, and C.B. to stay away from the victims. C.B.’s formal
    
    probation was ordered to last until October 6, 2013. C.B. now appeals.
    
                                    DISCUSSION AND DECISION3
    
           C.B. argues that she was denied due process when the juvenile court concluded
    
    that she had violated her conditional admission agreement after the court had prevented
    
    her from challenging probable cause in JD-1088. C.B. characterizes this as an issue of
    
    first impression pointing out that she “can find no authority on point” regarding whether
    
    she was denied due process before the trial court found that she had violated the
    
    conditional agreement. Appellant’s Br. p. 5.
    
           Generally, the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United
    
    States Constitution applies to juveniles alleged to be delinquent children. In re Gault, 387
    3
      In the State’s brief, it argued that this Court lacked jurisdiction insofar as a conditional admission
    agreement is not a final order. However, the State withdrew this position during oral argument.
                                                       
    6 U.S. 1
    , 30 (1967). As stated above, because there is no authority directly on point, we
    
    must determine what process C.B. was due in the instant case.
    
            Initially, we recognize that there is no statute authorizing a juvenile court to
    
    approve conditional admission agreements. However, our Supreme Court has recognized
    
    that the purpose of the juvenile system is vastly different from the criminal justice
    
    system. Jordan v. State, 
    512 N.E.2d 407
    , 408 (Ind. 1987). Specifically, the purpose of
    
    the juvenile process is rehabilitation so that the juvenile will not become a criminal as an
    
    adult and; accordingly, juvenile courts should have a variety of options for juveniles who
    
    have delinquency problems. Id. Consequently, we approve of conditional admission
    
    agreements as an important tool to be used within the juvenile court’s sound discretion.
    
            Moving forward to the process that is required before a juvenile court may
    
    determine that a conditional admission agreement has failed based upon probable cause
    
    that a new delinquent act has been committed, a juvenile court must find probable cause
    
    independently from the probable cause that authorized the filing of the delinquency
    
    petition. Put another way, a juvenile court may not rely solely on the fact that there was
    
    probable cause to authorize filing a delinquency petition.4
    
    
    
    
    4
      While we acknowledge our colleague’s concern that our holding is too broad, we emphasize that
    juveniles are not simply youthful adults. Indeed, they are children, and to the extent that they are
    children, their decision-making ability is underdeveloped. This is one of the reasons that the “juvenile
    court system is founded on the notion of parens patriae, which allows the court to step into the shoes of
    the parents.” In re M.T., 
    928 N.E.2d 266
    , 268 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010) (holding that “a trial court may not
    modify a juvenile’s disposition without a hearing at which the State presents evidence supporting the
    allegations listed in the revocation petition”).
                                                       7
           Furthermore, a juvenile must be given the opportunity to challenge the finding of
    
    probable cause. In other words, the juvenile must be given a meaningful opportunity to
    
    be heard on the issue of probable cause.
    
           Applying these principles to the instant case, at the May 23, 2012 pretrial hearing,
    
    the State requested that the juvenile court find that the conditional admission agreement
    
    had failed and to proceed to disposition pursuant to the terms of the agreement. Tr. p. 27.
    
    The State pointed out that the agreement stated that if there was probable cause to believe
    
    that she had violated the agreement, it “shall be shown as failed.” Id. at 28. The State
    
    argued that by “authorizing the cause number in, ending in 1088 the Court has found
    
    there to be probable cause.” Id. The juvenile court agreed. Id.
    
           At the May 30, 2012 hearing, the State dismissed JD-1088 after the witnesses
    
    failed to appear. Tr. p. 4. Then, C.B., through counsel, requested to be heard on the
    
    finding of probable cause under JD-1088. Although the record is a little unclear, it
    
    appears that C.B. had at least one and maybe two witnesses prepared to testify at this
    
    hearing. Id. at 6. The juvenile court responded, “[p]resent it at Disposition. And don’t
    
    present an . . . agreement like this again.” Id.
    
           At the disposition hearing on July 6, 2012, C.B. again requested to present
    
    evidence regarding probable cause.         Tr. p. 9.   The juvenile court questioned its
    
    jurisdiction to grant this request on a dismissed case but permitted C.B.’s witness, K.Y.,
    
    to testify. Id. at 11. K.Y. testified that she saw the alleged victim walking to her
    
    babysitter’s house and that she saw C.B. a short time later. Id. at 12-13. K.Y. stated that
    
                                                  8
    that she did not see any altercation between the two girls and that there was no evidence
    
    that an altercation had occurred. Id. at 13. On cross-examination, K.Y. testified that she
    
    watched the alleged victim walk to her residence without incident. Id.
    
          After C.B. presented her evidence, the juvenile court again questioned its
    
    jurisdiction to reconsider probable over a dismissed case, ultimately concluding,
    
    “assuming for the sake of argument that the Court does, for purpose of this hearing, I’m
    
    just going to deny the motion to reconsider probable cause as to the previously disma,
    
    dismissed matter [JD-1088].” Tr. p. 16.
    
          In light of our conclusions above, it was error for the juvenile court to rely solely
    
    on the finding of probable cause that authorized the filing of JD-1088.          Likewise,
    
    although the juvenile court allowed C.B. to present evidence regarding probable cause, it
    
    denied her motion to reconsider probable cause even though C.B. clearly established a
    
    lack of probable cause. Indeed, the only evidence presented indicated that the incident
    
    did not occur. To be clear, we are not saying that anytime a juvenile presents evidence
    
    that tends to negate probable cause, a juvenile court must grant a motion to reconsider
    
    probable cause. However, under these facts and circumstances where the only evidence
    
    indicates a lack of probable cause, it is error to deny a motion to reconsider probable
    
    cause. Accordingly, C.B. was denied due process.
    
          The judgment of the juvenile court is reversed.
    
    RILEY, J., concurs.
    
    BARNES, J., concurs with separate opinion.
    
                                                9
                                   IN THE
                         COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA
    
    C.B.,                                            )
                                                     )
            Appellant-Respondent,                    )
                                                     )
                   vs.                               )    No.      49A04-1207-JV-379
                                                     )
    STATE OF INDIANA,                                )
                                                     )
            Appellee-Petitioner.                     )
    
    
    
    
    BARNES, Judge, concurring
    
            I concur fully that there is no evidence in this record that would have allowed the
    
    trial court to trigger the sanctions in the conditional agreement. I, too, emphatically
    
    support the use of agreements like the one used here.           Prosecutors and juvenile
    
    defendants must have an opportunity to negotiate these sorts of agreements. It is clear to
    
    me, as the majority posits, that basic due process demands more than what occurred here.
    
    There was no delinquency petition on file here at the time the conditional agreement was
    
    voided. The only testimony about the alleged incident was exculpatory. Yet, because
    
    probable cause was found at one time on a since-dismissed delinquency petition,
    
    sanctions were imposed. Not fair, not right, not constitutional in my view.
                                                10
           I part with the majority when it says that, “a juvenile court may not rely solely on
    
    the fact that there was probable cause to authorize the filing of a delinquency petition”
    
    and suggests that a conditional agreement like the one here could never be revoked based
    
    only on the filing of another delinquency petition.       There are numerous probation
    
    revocation cases, which I consider to be analogous to the present situation, establishing
    
    that in some cases a probable cause finding in another matter may be used to revoke
    
    probation. When a probation agreement says a probationer cannot be charged with any
    
    new offense, then the mere fact of the probationer being charged with a new offense can
    
    be enough to revoke probation. Pitman v. State, 
    749 N.E.2d 557
    , 561 (Ind. Ct. App.
    
    2001), trans. denied. But if an agreement specifically says probation will be revoked if a
    
    probationer commits a new offense, the mere fact of being charged with a new offense is
    
    not enough to prove that the defendant committed a new offense and that probation
    
    should be revoked. Figures v. State, 
    920 N.E.2d 267
    , 272-73 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010). Also,
    
    where a new criminal charge has not been dismissed, a probable cause affidavit for the
    
    new charge may be introduced into evidence to prove that the probationer actually
    
    committed the new offense, but such an affidavit cannot be introduced where the new
    
    charge was later dismissed because of evidentiary problems. Id. at 272. It also is well-
    
    settled that probation cannot be revoked unless a hearing has been held at which the
    
    probationer has been able to present his or her own evidence, in particular with respect to
    
    
    
    
                                                11
    whether he or she committed a new crime. Cooper v. State, 
    917 N.E.2d 667
    , 672 (Ind.
    
    2009).5
    
           Applying these cases to the present case, I would hold: (1) C.B.’s conditional
    
    agreement prohibited her from committing a new offense, not from being charged with a
    
    new offense, thus the mere fact that she was charged with a new offense was not enough
    
    to revoke the agreement; (2) because the new delinquency charge was dismissed, the
    
    State was required to present some independent evidence that the juvenile actually
    
    committed that offense aside from the fact that the charge was filed, and that evidence
    
    could not include the probable cause affidavit accompanying the dismissed petition; and
    
    (3) because the State presented no evidence that C.B. committed a new offense, it was
    
    erroneous for the trial court to revoke the conditional agreement.
    
           I think the language used by the majority could be construed too broadly. I
    
    respectfully believe we must be careful not to overreach and that we should limit our
    
    holding to the particular facts of this case.
    
    
    
    
    5
     Our supreme court recently overruled Cooper to the extent it said probation could be revoked based on a
    showing of probable cause that a probationer committed a new offense, in conflict with the statutes
    governing probation that say a probation violation has to be proven by the higher standard of a
    preponderance of the evidence. See Heaton v. State, 
    984 N.E.2d 614
    , 617 (Ind. 2013). The juvenile’s
    agreement here was not governed by any statute, however, so the higher burden of proof required by
    Heaton would not seem to apply in this case.
                                                      12
    

Document Info

DocketNumber: 49A04-1207-JV-379

Filed Date: 5/21/2013

Precedential Status: Precedential

Modified Date: 10/30/2014