Appealed from The Juvenile Court In and for the Parish of
East Baton Rouge, Louisiana Docket Number JU112071 Honorable
Adam J. Haney, Judge Presiding
C. Moore, III Courtney E. Meyers Dale R. Lee Baton Rouge, LA
Counsel for Appellee, State of Louisiana
Annette Roach Lake Charles, LA Counsel for
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McCLENDON AND HIGGINBOTHAM, JJ.
juvenile, D.G., was charged by petition in juvenile court
with one count of armed robbery, a violation of LSA-R.S.
14:64, and one count of simple battery, a violation of
LSA-R.S. 14:35 He denied the allegations and, following an
adjudication hearing, was adjudicated a delinquent for the
charged offenses. As noted by the juvenile court, these
offenses occurred while D.G. was on probation for another
offense. For the armed robbery offense, the juvenile court
imposed disposition of confinement in secure placement until
the juvenile attains the age of twenty-one years without
benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence; for
the simple robbery offense, the juvenile court imposed
disposition of confinement for six months and ordered this
disposition to run concurrently with any other sentence
imposed. D.G. now appeals, designating two assignments of
error. For the following reason, we affirm the adjudications
March 31, 2017, the victim, Cornelius Chopez, left his
apartment on Titan Avenue in Baton Rouge to dump his garbage.
As he was walking back to his apartment, D.G. and another
juvenile approached Chopez and demanded money. He did not
have money on his person. The juveniles patted him down. When
Chopez tried to run, D.G. produced a gun from his waistband
and pointed it at Chopez's head. D.G. grazed his head
with the gun. When Chopez tried to run, he dropped his cell
phone. D.G.'s companion took the phone, and the juveniles
left. Chopez identified D.G. in a photographic lineup as the
perpetrator. Chopez also identified D.G. in court.
did not testify.
OF ERROR NO. 1
first assignment of error, D.G. argues the juvenile court
erred in failing to make a finding of competency prior to
proceeding with the adjudication hearing.
issue of D.G.'s competency was apparently raised prior to
the contradictory hearing held on February 6, 2018. The first
minute entry of the record states: "COURT SUSPENDS
HEARING, PENDING RESTORATION ON COMPETENCY." The minutes
further indicate that the competency review was set for
September 5, 2017. The September 5, 2017 minute entry states
that the matter was reassigned for a status conference on
October 24, 2017. D.G. notes that on this date, October 24,
2017, the juvenile court relieved the Department of Health
and Mental Health Advocacy Center of representation. D.G.
contends that there was no further mention of competency or
mental health issues until disposition was imposed.
points out in brief that once the mental health of a child is
raised, there can be no further steps in the prosecution
until the child is found to have the mental capacity to
proceed. See LSA-Ch. C. arts. 832, 834 & 836. D.G.
asserts that his case was suspended and that his competency
was never determined. Thus, D.G. contends his adjudications
and dispositions are null, and the case should be remanded to
determine his competency in accordance with LSA-Ch. C. arts.
disagree. The entirety of D.G.'s argument is based on
what was contained in a few minute entries. While it is clear
that someone at some point raised the issue of D.G.'s
competency, there is nothing in the record to indicate the
juvenile court even ordered a competency commission, pursuant
to LSA-Ch.C. art. 834. Further, while D.G. suggests that the
Mental Health Advocacy Center representative was
"relieved" by the court, with no further
consideration or mention of D.G.'s competency, our
reading of the record suggests something different. The
October 24, 2017 minute entry indicates the following people
were present in court: The prosecutor; defense counsel;
Krystal Brown, with the Louisiana Department of Health;
Brittany Yoes, with the Mental Health Advocacy Center; and
Keelen Robinson, with the Office of Juvenile ...