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M.T.V. v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

December 22, 2016

M.T.V., Appellant-Respondent,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Petitioner.

         Appeal from the Jackson Superior Court The Honorable Bruce A. MacTavish, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 36D02-1602-JD-9

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT R. Patrick Magrath Alcorn Sage Schwartz & Magrath, LLP Madison, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Gregory F. Zoeller Attorney General of Indiana Lyubov Gore Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Bailey, Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] M.T.V. appeals his adjudication of delinquency for Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Battery, a Level 3 felony if committed by an adult.[1] We affirm.

         Issues

         [¶2] M.T.V. raises the following restated issues:

I. Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it:
A. Determined there was a sufficient foundation to admit records of M.T.V.'s Facebook conversations, and
B. Admitted statements made by M.T.V.'s coconspirator in those Facebook conversations; and
II. Whether the evidence is sufficient to support M.T.V.'s adjudication.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] On January 13, 2016, when M.T.V. was sitting at a Seymour High School cafeteria table, M.T.V. stated that he and another student, B.E., were going to bring guns into the school on April 20, 2018. M.T.V. said that the date was the same day as the Columbine shooting. M.T.V. also said that he and B.E. had a list and that a student, J.R., was first on the list. Another student at the lunch table reported M.T.V.'s statements to counselors and an investigation ensued. During the investigation, the Seymour Police Department ("SPD") obtained records from Facebook containing conversations between M.T.V. and B.E.

         [¶4] On February 16, 2016, the State filed a delinquency petition alleging that M.T.V. committed an act that would be Conspiracy to Commit Murder if committed by an adult. The State later amended the petition, adding allegations of Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Battery and Conspiracy to Commit Possession of Firearm on School Property.

         [¶5] During a fact-finding hearing on May 20, 2016, the State sought to admit the Facebook conversations into evidence. M.T.V. objected, arguing that the Facebook records were not properly authenticated and that the conversations contained inadmissible hearsay. After hearing argument from M.T.V. and the State, the trial court admitted the conversations. When the hearing concluded, the juvenile court took the matter under advisement, and later entered a true finding for only one allegation, Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Battery.

         [¶6] M.T.V. now appeals.

         Discussion ...


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