Articles Posted in Juvenile Law

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Defendant was required to register as a sex offender in Michigan because he was adjudicated a juvenile delinquent for a sex offense. Defendant later moved to Kentucky, where he was charged with failing to register under the Kentucky Sex Offender Registration Act. Defendant entered a conditional guilty plea to the charge. The court of appeals affirmed on appeal, concluding that Defendant was required to register under the plain language of the Act. Defendant appealed, claiming that he was not required to register under the Act because he was a juvenile and was not “convicted” of any crime. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the statute requires registration in the state of Kentucky of any person who was required to register in another state upon that person’s relocation; and (2) because Defendant was required to register in Michigan, he was also required to register in Kentucky. View "Murphy v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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The juvenile Appellant in this case, "Bill," a fifteen-year-old eighth-grade boy, was charged with multiple public offenses based on his sexual conduct with his thirteen-year-old girlfriend "Carol", who was not charged. He entered an unconditional admission to amended charges, and the district court entered an adjudication finding that he committed the alleged conduct. After disposition of his case, he appealed to the circuit court, which affirmed. The Court of Appeals denied his motion for discretionary review, but the Supreme Court granted it initially to address constitutional challenges that Bill raised. After consideration of those challenges, the Supreme Court concluded that the appeal should have been dismissed by the circuit court, with no consideration of any of the substantive issues raised, because Bill entered an unconditional admission to the offenses and thereby waived an appeal in this case. View "B. H. v. Kentucky" on Justia Law

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Appellant, a juvenile, was charged with misdemeanor sexual misconduct and felony possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor based on his sexual conduct with his also-underage girlfriend. Appellant entered an unconditional admission to amended charges. The district court subsequently entered an adjudication finding that Appellant committed the alleged conduct. The circuit court affirmed. The Court of Appeals denied Appellant’s motion for discretionary review. The Supreme Court initially granted discretionary review to address Appellant’s constitutional claims. However, because Appellant entered what amounts to an unconditional guilty plea, the Supreme Court remanded the matter with directions that the appeal be dismissed, holding that Appellant waived his right to an appeal in this case. View "B.H. v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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Appellant, a juvenile, entered an unconditional admission to amended charges of public offenses based on his sexual conduct with his also-underage girlfriend. The district court entered an adjudication finding that Appellant committed the alleged conduct. The circuit court affirmed on appeal. The court of appeals denied Appellant’s motion for discretionary review. The Supreme Court granted the motion for discretionary review and vacated the decision of the circuit court, holding that because Appellant entered into his admission unconditionally, he waived his right to appeal, and therefore, the lower court should not have considered his claims. View "B.H. v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Juvenile Law

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Appellant, who was fifteen years old at the time, was charged with third-degree sexual abuse. Appellant was released from detention on a conditional order of release. The district court ordered that Appellant’s case be “informally adjusted” on the condition that Appellant move out of state to Oklahoma to live with his father. The existing order of release with its conditions was then terminated. Appellant and his mother were forced to comply with the order to avoid formal juvenile prosecution. When Appellant returned to Kentucky with his mother, the district court re-docketed the charges. The trial court eventually removed Appellant from his home and committed him to the Department of Juvenile Justice as a juvenile sexual offender for placement in an “appropriate facility.” The Supreme Court vacated the district court’s adjudication and disposition in this case, holding that the trial court erred when it changed the case from an informal adjustment to formal proceedings because once a case has been determined to be appropriate for an informal adjustment, the case cannot be returned to formal proceedings. View "Q.M. v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Juvenile Law

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R.S., a teenaged child under eighteen years of age, engaged in an evening of “teenage shenanigans,” in which he and a group of contemporaries painted offenses messages on cars parked at a memorial service. Following hearings in juvenile session, a district court adjudicated R.S. guilty of second-degree criminal mischief by complicity and order him alone to pay the full amount of restitution to the owner of one of the defaced cars that was damaged in the incident. The circuit court and court of appeals affirmed the adjudication and restitution order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commonwealth presented sufficient evidence to support the adjudication of R.S.’s juvenile public offender status; and (2) the district court may, in weighing the best interest of the child in a juvenile disposition, order one party to pay the entire amount of restitution, despite other individuals’ possible involvement in the acts of vandalism.View "R.S. v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Juvenile Law

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Appellant was indicted for the robbery and murder of Caesaro Gomez. Appellant, who was sixteen years old at the time of the crimes, was tried as a youthful offender and found guilty by a circuit court jury of murder, first-degree robbery, and intimidating a participant in the legal process. Appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence, holding (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Appellant's motion to strike for cause; (2) Appellant's argument regarding the validity of Ky. R. Crim. P. 9.40 was unpreserved for appellate review; and (3) the trial court did not err in sentencing Appellant. View "Grider v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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Defendant was a juvenile who admitted giving hydrocodone to another student. Defendant's confession was made directly in answer to questions from the school assistant principal, who was working with a deputy sheriff (School Resource Officer or SRO), also present. The SRO did not read Defendant his Miranda rights before the questioning. Defendant was subsequently charged with possessing and dispensing a controlled substance, a felony, in a juvenile petition. After unsuccessfully filing a motion to suppress, Defendant entered a conditional guilty plea to the charge. Defendant subsequently appealed the denial of his motion. At issue before the Supreme Court was whether a student is entitled to the benefit of the Miranda warnings before being questioned by a school official in conjunction with a law enforcement officer, the SRO, when he is subject to criminal charges. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the statements Defendant made before law enforcement when he was questioned by the assistant principal must be suppressed because he was in custody and was not given the Miranda warnings. View "N.C. v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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Defendant pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree robbery. Defendant was a minor at the time he committed the felonies, and because the offenses involved a firearm, Defendant was automatically transferred to the circuit court as a youthful offender to be tried as an adult. The trial court determined Defendant should be granted probation on his ten-year sentence. The trial court subsequently revoked Defendant's probation and sentenced him to the Department of Corrections (DOC) to serve his sentence. The DOC classified Defendant as a violent offender, a status that restricted Defendant's parole eligibility. Defendant filed a declaration of rights action, arguing that the DOC erred in classifying him as a violent offender because he was a youthful offender. The circuit court agreed. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the Violent Offender Statute applied to youthful offenders for purposes of parole eligibility. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the parole-eligibility limitations of the Violent Offender Statute apply to youthful offenders; and (2) therefore, the DOC correctly classified Defendant as a violent offender subject to that statute's parole-eligibility restrictions. View "Edwards v. Harrod" on Justia Law

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Appellant was charged with complicity to commit assault in the first degree, attempted burglary in the first degree, and tampering with physical evidence in a juvenile proceeding. Appellant was sixteen years old at the time. The district court found there was no probable cause to believe Appellant had used a firearm in the commission of the offenses under Ky. Rev. Stat. 635.020(4) and therefore declined to order transfer of Appellant to circuit court as a youthful offender. The Commonwealth filed a petition for a writ of mandamus, asking the circuit court to order the district court to transfer Appellant as a youth offender. The circuit court granted the writ, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the writ of mandamus issued by the circuit court was not an abuse of discretion where (1) a crime committed by complicity can fall under the mandatory transfer provision of section 635.020(4), and complicity to commit an offense involving use of a firearm requires transfer when an offense involving direct use of a firearm would; and (2) the district court erred in finding that a firearm was not used in Appellant's offense. View "K.R. v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law