Appeal from the Juvenile Court In and for the Parish of East
Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Docket No. JU111914 Honorable
Darrell White, Judge Pro Tempore Presiding 
C. Moore, III District Attorney Otha Nelson Assistant
District Attorney Baton Rouge, Louisiana Jack Harrison Baton
Counsel for Appellee State of Louisiana Counsel for
Defendant/ Appellant T.C.
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, CJ., McCLENDON, AND HIGGINBOTHAM,
thirteen-year-old juvenile, was charged by petition in
juvenile court with aggravated battery, a violation of
LSA-R.S. 14:34. He denied the allegation. At an adjudication
hearing, following the presentation of evidence, the juvenile
court found T.C. delinquent for having committed second
degree battery, a violation of LSA-R.S. 14:34.1. Prior to
that ruling, T.C. sought a directed verdict of acquittal,
which the juvenile court denied. Following the disposition
hearing, the court ordered disposition to be deferred for six
months and placed T.C. on supervised probation for six
months, subject to certain conditions. T.C. now appeals,
designating one assignment of error. We vacate the
delinquency adjudication for second degree battery and enter
an adjudication of delinquency for simple battery. We also
vacate the disposition and remand for disposition on the
adduced at the adjudication hearing revealed that on
September 15, 2017, two sixth-grade students engaged in a
physical altercation at Woodlawn Middle School in Baton
Rouge, Louisiana. According to the victim, M.J., T.C.
approached him between classes, said "let's
fight," and struck him twice in the face. T.C. was
wearing a metal wristwatch with sharp protrusions, and the
watch contacted M.J.'s face during the second strike. The
wound from the second contact began to bleed, and it
eventually led to a scar, which was visible at the
adjudication hearing. M.J. testified that the wound did not
hurt, but later testimony from M.J.'s mother revealed it
required nine stitches in the hospital that day. M.J.
returned to school the following day. M.J.'s mother also
authenticated a video of M.J.'s injuries, which was taken
at the hospital and was played for the court. Additional
photos of the injury and of the wristwatch, taken by an
investigating sheriff's deputy, were also admitted into
evidence. The deputy, Sergeant Calvin Praider with the East
Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, testified that T.C. told
him in an interview that M.J. was teasing him about not
advancing from the sixth grade to the seventh grade, and that
was why T.C. struck him. T.C. admitted to striking M.J., who
did not strike him first. T.C. told Sgt. Praider that the
watch fell off after he hit M.J. and that he picked it up and
ran away. T.C. testified that the watch belonged to his
mother and that he knew it was too big for his wrist and hung
loose. He also stated that he and M.J. had gotten into a
fight the previous year, but that no one knew about it.
does not argue that he did not cause serious bodily injury to
M.J. In his sole assignment of error, T.C. argues that the
State did not provide sufficient evidence to establish that
he had the specific intent to cause serious bodily injury to
M.J. when he struck him. In support, T.C. points to some of
the court's reasoning when ruling on the adjudication.
Specifically, T.C. urges that the juvenile court demonstrated
a mistaken belief that second degree battery is a general
intent crime. T.C. correctly notes that aggravated battery
only requires general intent. He claims that when the
juvenile court adjudicated T.C. delinquent of the
lesser-included offense of second degree battery, the court
erroneously applied that general-intent analysis to a
specific-intent crime. In contrast, the State argues the
evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the
prosecution, supported beyond a reasonable doubt that T.C.
committed a battery without consent, with the intent to
inflict serious bodily injury on M.J.
juvenile adjudication proceeding, the State must prove beyond
a reasonable doubt that the child committed the delinquent
act alleged in the petition. LSA-Ch.C. 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. 1 Cir. 6/28/96), 677 So.2d
1071, 1074. Accordingly, in delinquency cases, the standard
of review for the sufficiency of evidence, is that enunciated
in Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct.
2781, 2789, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979), i.e., whether
viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the
State proved the essential elements of the crime beyond a
reasonable doubt. See LSA-C.Cr.P. art. 821. Further, because
a review of the law and facts in a juvenile delinquency
proceeding is constitutionally mandated, an appellate court
must review the record to determine if the juvenile court was
clearly wrong in its factual findings. See La. Const, art. 5,
§ 10; State in Interest of D.M., 97-0628 (La.App. 1 Cir.
11/7/97), 704 So.2d 786, 789-90.
Revised Statutes 14:34.1 provides, in pertinent part, that
second degree battery is a battery when the offender
intentionally inflicts serious bodily injury. In order to
prove a second degree battery, the State must prove that the
juvenile: (1) committed a battery upon another, (2) without
his consent, and (3) intentionally inflicted serious bodily
injury. State v. Young, 00-1437 (La. 11/28/01), 800
So.2d 847, 852. "Serious bodily injury" means
bodily injury which involves unconsciousness, extreme
physical pain or protracted and obvious disfigurement, or
protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily
member, organ, or mental faculty, or a substantial risk of
death. LSA-R.S. 14:34. lB(3). Second degree battery is a
crime requiring specific criminal intent. State v.
Fuller, 414 So.2d 306, 310 (La. 1982). Specific intent
is that state of mind which exists when the circumstances
indicate that the offender actively desired the prescribed
criminal consequences to follow his act or failure to act.
LSA-R.S. 14:10(1). Such state of mind can be formed in an
instant. State v. Cousan, 94-2503 (La. 11/25/96),
684 So.2d 382, 390. Specific intent need not be proven as a
fact, but may be inferred from the circumstances of the
transaction and the actions of a defendant. State v.
Graham, 420 So.2d 1126, 1127 (La. 1982). More
specifically, the intent to inflict serious bodily injury may
be inferred from the extent and severity of the victim's
injuries. State v. Cornwell, 17-0044, p. 3 (La.App.
1 Cir. 9/27/17), 2017 WL 4314372 (unpublished). The existence
of specific intent is an ultimate legal conclusion to be
resolved by the trier of fact. State v. McCue, 484
So.2d 889, 892 (La.App. 1 Cir. 1986).
trier of fact, in this case, the juvenile court, is charged
with making credibility determinations. Credibility
determinations, as well as the weight to be attributed to the
evidence, are soundly within the province of the fact finder.
State ex rel. T.C, 09-1669 (La.App. 4 Cir. 2/16/11), 60 So.3d
1260, 1263. Moreover, conflicting testimony as to factual
matters is a question of weight of the evidence, not
sufficiency. Id. See also Tibbs v.
Florida, 457 U.S. 31, 46, 102 S.Ct. 2211, 2220-21, 72
L.Ed.2d 652 (1982). Such a determination rests solely with
the trier of fact who may accept or reject, in whole or in
part, the testimony of any witness. T.C., 60 So.3d at 1263;
see also State in Interest of D.L.P., 17-1148
(La.App. 1 Cir. 12/21/17), 240 So.3d 945, 949. A trier of
fact's determination as to the credibility of a witness
is a question of fact entitled to great weight, and its
determination will not be disturbed unless it is clearly
contrary to the evidence. T.C., 60 So.3d at 1263; see
State v. Vessel I, 450 So.2d 938, 943 (La. 1984). In
the absence of internal contradictions and irreconcilable
conflicts with physical evidence, the testimony of one
witness, if believed by the trial court, is sufficient to
support a conviction. State ex rel. DJ.,
00-1592 (La.App. 5 Cir. 3/28/01), 783 So.2d 558, 562.
However, because a review of the law and facts in a juvenile
delinquency proceeding is constitutionally mandated, an
appellate court must review the record to determine if the
juvenile court was clearly wrong in its factual findings.
D.L.P., 240 So.3d at 947.
acknowledged striking M.J., although he explained that he did
not intend to strike MJ. with the watch. T.C. testified that
he knew the watch was loose on his wrist, and "probably
compressed with [MJ's] face or something." The
juvenile court found that T.C. did not have the specific
intent to inflict serious bodily injury. In adjudicating T.C.
delinquent, the court declared that T.C. "did not have
the intent to cause that injury, but he intended to punch
[MJ.]." The court noted the watch must have
"slipped down" to the back part of T.C.'s hand,
and consequently inflicted the injury without T.C.'s
specific intent to do so. Based on the record, we cannot say
that the juvenile court was clearly wrong in so concluding.
However, the juvenile court's language is indicative of
its conclusion that T.C. had general intent to commit the
offense of second degree battery, which is not sufficient for
a finding of delinquency. The juvenile court, while we accept
its appreciation of the facts, committed legal error in
applying a general intent standard to a specific intent
the juvenile court's determination that T.C. did not have
the specific intent to cause the disfigurement to M.J., after
our own thorough review of the record, and considering the
evidence in the light most favorable to the State, we are
constrained to find that the evidence does not support the
juvenile court's adjudication of ...