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In re H.N.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

June 30, 2015

IN THE INTEREST OF H.N.

Page 1243

ON APPEAL FROM THE JEFFERSON PARISH JUVENILE COURTPARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 12-JU-25. HONORABLE ANN MURRY KELLER, Division " A" AND HONORABLE BARRON C. BURMASTER, Division " C" JUDGES PRESIDING.

PAUL D. CONNICK, JR., DISTRICT ATTORNEY, Twenty-Fourth Judicial District, Parish of Jefferson, TERRY M. BOUDREAUX, AMANDA L. CALOGERO, ELIZABETH B. CURREN, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEYS, Juvenile Court, Harvey, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE.

KATHERINE M. FRANKS, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Louisiana Appellate Project, Abita Springs, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT.

Panel composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Jude G. Gravois, and Robert A. Chaisson.

OPINION

FREDERICKA HOMBERG WICKER, J.

Page 1244

[15-173 La.App. 5 Cir. 2] Juvenile-appellant appeals his adjudication of delinquency for simple criminal damage to property amounting to less than $500.00 and theft of property valued at less than $500.00. Juvenile-appellant challenges the constitutionality of his guilty pleas and claims that his two, consecutive six-month dispositions are excessive under the circumstances of this case. In response to the appeal, the state asserts that this Court should decline to consider the juvenile's appeal as untimely. The state contends that the juvenile court erred in granting an out-of-time appeal in this case, asserting that the juvenile-appellant, as a juvenile, is not entitled to seek an out-of-time appeal through post-conviction relief.

For the following reasons, we find that the juvenile court in this case did not err in granting the juvenile an out-of-time appeal and we consider the merits of the appeal. We further find that the juvenile-appellant's assignments of error, challenging the constitutionality of his guilty pleas and the consecutive nature of [15-173 La.App. 5 Cir. 3] his dispositions, lack merit. Consequently, we affirm the juvenile-appellant's adjudications and dispositions.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

On April 4, 2014, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney filed a delinquency petition in juvenile court charging the juvenile, H.N.[1], with simple criminal damage to property amounting to under $500.00 in violation of La. R.S. 14:56 (Petition C). On that same date, the state filed a second delinquency petition charging H.N. with theft of property valued at under $500.00

Page 1245

in violation of La. R.S. 14:67 (Petition D).[2] On April 10, 2014, H.N. denied the allegations in the petitions. On April 30, 2014, H.N. withdrew his former denials and admitted to the allegations in the petitions. On May 13, 2014, the juvenile judge entered consecutive, six-month dispositions on each charge, suspended the dispositions, and placed H.N. on active probation for two years. On May 22, 2014, pursuant to a stipulated order, H.N. entered the Drug Court program.

On August 4, 2014, the state filed a motion to modify the dispositions or to revoke probation, asserting that H.N. had violated curfew, failed to appear for drug screenings, and failed to appear in Drug Court as ordered. The juvenile judge granted the motion, terminating H.N. from the Drug Court program and ordering H.N. to be released to his mother's custody with intensive probation.

On September 19, 2014, the state filed another motion to modify the dispositions or revoke probation, asserting that H.N. again violated curfew, failed to attend school, and refused to take prescribed medications. On September 23, 2014, the juvenile judge granted modification, committed H.N. to the Office of [15-173 La.App. 5 Cir. 4] Juvenile Justice (OJJ) for two, six-month consecutive sentences, and ordered OJJ to place him in a non-secure facility.

At the modification hearing, H.N.'s counsel objected to the imposition of consecutive, six-month dispositions, arguing that the dispositions should be served concurrently because they are based on the same course of conduct. H.N. subsequently filed a written Motion to Correct Illegal Disposition, which the juvenile judge denied.

On January 6, 2015, OJJ filed a motion to modify the dispositions, asserting that H.N. assaulted another youth and willfully refused to follow rules and procedures at the non-secure facility. On January 8, 2015, the juvenile judge granted the motion and authorized OJJ to move H.N. to a secure facility.[3] On March 4, 2015, H.N. filed a Motion for Out-of-Time Appeal, which the juvenile judge granted, seeking to appeal his May 13, 2014 delinquency adjudication and the subsequent denial of his motion to correct an illegal disposition.[4]

TIMELINESS OF APPEAL

In its appellee brief, the state contends that H.N.'s motion for appeal was untimely, as it ...


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