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State ex rel. J.D.

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

December 3, 2014

STATE OF LOUISIANA IN THE INTEREST OF J.D

Page 727

APPEAL FROM JUVENILE COURT ORLEANS PARISH. NO. 2014-035-05-DQ-E, SECTION " E" . HONORABLE YOLANDA KING, JUDGE.

AFFIRMED AND REMANDED.

LEON A. CANNIZZARO, JR., DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF ORLEANS PARISH, J. BRYANT CLARK, JR., ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF ORLEANS PARISH, New Orleans, Louisiana, Counsel for State of Louisiana.

KATHERINE M. FRANKS, LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT, Abita Springs, Louisiana, Counsel for Appellant.

(Court composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay III, Judge Dennis R. Bagneris, Sr., Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins). JENKINS, J., DISSENTS AND ASSIGNS REASONS.

OPINION

JAMES F. MCKAY III, J.

Page 728

[2014-0551 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] J.D. was charged by petition with one count of theft of Black Beats headphones and a Samsung tablet valued at greater than or equal to one thousand dollars. On April 22, 2014, the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court adjudicated J.D. delinquent for the offense of misdemeanor theft. The written judgment provides that J.D. was adjudicated delinquent of theft pursuant to La. R.S. 14:67. However, the judgment is silent as to the grade of theft.

J.D. was committed to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for six (6) months. The sentence was suspended, and J.D. was placed on one (1) year of inactive probation. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm and remand.

STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

At the adjudication hearing, the trial court heard testimony from one witness, Deputy George West (" Deputy West" ) with the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office. Deputy West stated that on July 7, 2014, he was assigned to the James Singleton Charter School in New Orleans to provide security. On that date, Deputy West and Deputy S. Reddick responded to a theft call from the school, wherein a student [2014-0551 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] reported items missing from his gym bag while playing basketball. The deputies, the victim, and a school staff member watched the school's surveillance video from the time in question. Deputy West testified that the victim identified J.D. as the individual seen on the video taking his gym bag. J.D.'s mother was called to the school to view the video. J.D. was not present at this time. At the request of

Deputy West, J.D.'s mother brought J.D.

Page 729

back to the school. Deputy West stated that when J.D. arrived, the situation was explained to him, and J.D. confessed to the theft in the presence of his mother. When asked where the items were, J.D. stated that he sold the headphones for thirty (30) dollars. Deputy West gave no testimony regarding the Samsung tablet, which was the other item allegedly missing from the victim's gym bag. Deputy West testified that the statements made by J.D. were not referenced in the police report. Deputy West was asked to testify as to what he saw on the surveillance video. Defense counsel objected on the basis that the video was not made available to view at trial. Deputy West stated that the video he reviewed for the trial did not show the incident in question. Thus, it was not the same footage viewed by Deputy West at the school. The objection was overruled.

Deputy West testified that the video he viewed at the school showed the victim playing basketball and J.D. standing around watching. He could see J.D. pick up a bag; walk towards a bench area; stand there a few seconds; and then leave without the bag. This testimony differed somewhat on cross-examination, where Deputy West stated that he observed J.D. carrying a school bag; pick up the [2014-0551 La.App. 4 Cir. 3] gym bag identified by the victim; and leave with two bags. This discrepancy was not questioned.

Following the testimony of Deputy West, the trial court rendered judgment from the bench, adjudicating J.D. delinquent of " theft of property having a value of $300.00 or more, but less than $500.00." The written judgment provides that J.D. was adjudged delinquent of theft in violation of La. R.S. 14:67, but it does not indicate the grade of theft.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

In State in the Interest of J.J., 2013-0548, pp. 2-3 (La.App. 4 Cir. 9/25/13), 125 So.3d 1248, 1250, this Court recently reiterated the appellate standard of review in juvenile cases as follows:

In order to adjudicate a child delinquent, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the child committed the delinquent act alleged in the petition. La. Ch.C. art. 883. The standard for the State's burden of proof in a juvenile delinquency proceeding is " no less strenuous then the standard of proof required in a criminal proceeding against an adult." State in the Interest of J.W., p. 3 (La.App. 4 Cir. 6/6/12), 95 So.3d 1181, 1184. As a court of review, we grant great deference to the juvenile court's factual findings, credibility determinations, and assessment of witness testimony. State ex rel. W.B., 2008-1458, p. 1 (La.App. 4 Cir. 4/22/09), 11 So.3d 60, 61.
In evaluating the sufficiency of evidence to support a conviction, an appellate court must determine whether, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. State in the Interest of T.E., 2000-1810, p. 4 (La.App. 4 Cir. 4/11/01), 787 So.2d 414, 417, citing Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979). The Jackson standard of review is applicable in juvenile delinquency cases. Id.
In addition, La. Const. art. V, § 10(B) mandates that an appellate court review both law and facts when reviewing juvenile adjudications. " While delinquency proceedings may in many ways [2014-0551 La.App. 4 Cir. 4] implicate criminal proceedings, sometimes even mimicking them, they are nonetheless civil in nature." State in the Interest of D.R., 2010-0405, p. 5 (La.App. 4 Cir. 10/13/10), 50 So.3d 927, 930. (Emphasis in the original). Therefore,

Page 730

as in the review of civil cases, a factual finding made by a trial court in a juvenile adjudication may not be disturbed by an appellate court unless the record evidence as a whole does not furnish a basis for it, or it is clearly wrong. State in Interest of K.G., 2011-1559, p. 4 (La.App. 4 Cir. 3/21/12), 88 So.3d 1205, 1207, citing State in the Interest of Batiste, 367 So.2d 784 (La.1979); State ex rel. E.D.C., 39,892 (La.App. 2 Cir. 5/11/05), 903 So.2d 571; State in the Interest of S.S., 557 So.2d 407 (La.App. 4 Cir.1990). In sum, we apply the " clearly wrong-manifest error" standard of review to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to satisfy the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

LAW AND ANALYSIS

J.D. asserts four assignments of error: 1) The trial court erred in permitting Deputy West to testify as to the contents of the video when the video was not produced at trial; 2) The State failed to offer evidence that J.D.'s statements were made freely and voluntarily with the benefit of Miranda[1] warnings; 3) Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to suppress J.D.'s statements and failing to object to ...


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