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State ex rel. R.K.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

September 24, 2018

STATE IN THE INTEREST OF R.K.[1]

          APPEALED FROM THE JUVENILE COURT EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LOUISIANA DOCKET NUMBER 110, 528 HONORABLE ADAM J. HANEY, JUDGE.

          Hillar Moore III District Attorney and Otha Curtis Nelson Jr. Courtney Myers Assistant District Attorneys Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorneys for Appellant/ State of Louisiana.

          Christopher T. Freyder James R. Clary Jr. Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorneys for Defendant/ Appellee R. K.

          BEFORE: McDONALD, CRAIN, and HOLDRIDGE, JJ.

          MCDONALD, J.

         The 16-year-old juvenile defendant, R.K., was alleged to be delinquent under petition number 110, 528, filed by the State on November 1, 2016, under the Louisiana Children's Code.[2] The petition was based upon the defendant's alleged commission of the following offenses against his younger female cousin: misdemeanor sexual battery during January 1, 2015 through July 20, 2016[3] (count one), a violation of LSA-R.S. 14:43.1.1; obscenity during January 1, 2015 through July 20, 2016 (count two), a violation of LSA-R.S. 14:106; and second degree rape during January 1, 2015 through July 20, 2016 (count three), a violation of LSA-R.S. 14:42.1. In a supplemental petition, the State added more counts against the defendant based on his alleged commission of the following offenses against the same victim: sexual battery during January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2014 (count four), a violation of LSA-R.S. 14:43.1A(1); second degree rape[4] during January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2014 (count five); sexual battery during January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2015 (count six); and, second degree rape during January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2015 (count seven).

         The defendant initially denied the allegations, and the matter was set for adjudication. During the adjudication, the defendant and the State entered into a plea agreement. The plea agreement form indicates the State dismissed counts one, two, three, five, six, and seven. The record indicates that the defendant admitted to sexual battery on count four and to indecent behavior with a juvenile on count five. Thereafter, the juvenile court adjudicated him delinquent for the commission of sexual battery and indecent behavior with a juvenile.

         At the disposition hearing, the juvenile court committed the juvenile defendant to the custody of the Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ), a division of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, until his 21st birthday. The court suspended that disposition and placed the juvenile defendant on supervised probation for two years. In addition to other conditions of probation, the court also ordered the juvenile defendant to complete 50 hours of community service, cooperate with sex offender treatment, pay court costs, have no contact with the victim, and have no unsupervised contact with children under 10 years old. On appeal, the State contends that the disposition imposed by the court is illegally lenient. For the following reasons, we affirm the juvenile defendant's adjudications of delinquency and disposition.

         FACTS

         The adjudication hearing was not made part of the appellate record. According to the petition and predisposition report, the victim's mother reported the juvenile defendant to the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office after the victim disclosed several incidents of sexual misconduct by the juvenile defendant beginning around 2009 and continuing through 2016. Specifically, the predisposition report states that, during a forensic interview at the Children's Advocacy Center, the victim disclosed that the juvenile defendant had asked her to take her shirt off and he then rubbed her breasts; had lain on top of her and rubbed his genitals on hers, both clothed and unclothed; had touched her breasts and vaginal area; had attempted to have her perform oral sex upon him; and often masturbated in front of her. The predisposition report also states that the victim disclosed that the incidents began when she was 10 years old.

         DISPOSITION

         In its sole assignment of error, the State contends that the disposition imposed by the juvenile court was illegally lenient. The State argues that the court failed to consider the best interest of the victim and society and failed to address the juvenile defendant's full rehabilitative needs.

         After adjudicating a child to be delinquent, a court should impose the "least restrictive disposition" authorized by LSA-Ch.C. arts. 897 through 900, [5] which the court finds is consistent with the circumstances of the case, the needs of the child, and the best interest of society. LSA-Ch.C. art. 901B. Further, LSA-Ch.C. art. 901A provides, "In considering dispositional options, the court shall not remove a child from the custody of his parents unless his welfare or the safety ...


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