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State ex rel. D.L.P.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

December 21, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA IN THE INTEREST OF D.L.P.

         On Appeal from the The Juvenile Court In and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Trial Court No. 110, 754 Honorable Pamela Taylor Johnson, Judge Presiding

          Hillar C. Moore, III District Attorney Dale R. Lee Otha Curtis Nelson, Jr. Assistant District Attorneys Baton Rouge, LA Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellee, State of Louisiana

          Annette Roach Louisiana Appellate Project Lake Charles, LA Attorney for Defendant-Appellant, D.L.P.

          BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, HOLDRIDGE, AND PENZATO, JJ.

          HIGGINBOTHAM, J.

         The juvenile, D.L.P., was charged by juvenile petition with armed robbery, a violation of La. R.S. 14:64 (count 2); and simple battery, a violation of La. R.S. 14:35 (count 3).[1] She denied the allegations and, following an adjudication hearing, was adjudicated a delinquent for the charged offenses. For count 2, the judge ordered the juvenile to be committed to the custody of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for two years without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence; for count 3, the judge ordered the juvenile to be committed to the custody of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for six months. The judge ordered the terms of commitment to run concurrently. D.L.P. now appeals, designating one assignment of error.

         FACTS

         On December 9, 2016, M.W.[2] got off his school bus and walked to his home on Wright Drive in Baton Rouge. He did not have his house keys, so he called his mother, then sat under his carport and waited. Two people, whom M.W. had never seen, approached M.W., whom M.W. later identified as North Banks Middle School students D.C. and D.L.P. D.C. asked to use M.W.'s cell phone. M.W. said he would not give D.C. his phone but he would make the call for him (D.C). Twice, D.C. gave numbers to M.W., which he called but no one answered. After a few more words were exchanged, D.C. pulled a gun and told M.W. to give him his phone. When M.W. refused, D.L.P. attacked him. D.L.P. hit M.W. on the head, knocking him to the ground. D.L.P. then grabbed the phone from M.W.'s hand, and D.C. and D.L.P. ran off. Later that same day, M.W. identified the two people that robbed him by viewing pictures of them on their Instagram accounts.

         D.L.P. did not testify.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         In her sole assignment of error, D.L.P. argues there was insufficient evidence to adjudicate her delinquent for the offenses of armed robbery and simple battery. Specifically, D.L.P. contends the State failed to prove her identity as one of the perpetrators.

         In a juvenile adjudication proceeding, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the child committed a delinquent act alleged in the petition. La. Ch. Code art. 883. The burden of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, is no less severe than the burden of proof required in an adult proceeding. State in Interest of S.T., 95-2187 (La.App. 1st Cir. 6/28/96), 677 So.2d 1071, 1074.

         In State in Interest of Giangrosso, 385 So.2d 471, 476 (La.App. 1st Cir. 1980), affirmed, 395 So.2d 709 (La. 1981), we stated:

In juvenile proceedings, the scope of review of this court extends to both law and fact. Article 5, Section 10, Constitution of 1974; see State in Interest of Batiste, 367 So.2d 784 (La. 1979). We must, therefore, decide if the trial judge was clearly wrong in his ...

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