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J.S. v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

October 12, 2018

J.S., Appellant-Respondent,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Petitioner

          Appeal from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Gary Chavers, Judge Pro Tempore Trial Court Cause Nos. 49D09-1711-JD-1623 49D09-1710-JD-1472

          Attorney for Appellant Amy Karozos Greenwood, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General Ellen H. Meilaender Supervising Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Crone, Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] J.S. appeals his placement in the Indiana Department of Correction ("DOC") following his admission to delinquent acts that would have amounted to level 6 felony receiving stolen auto parts, class A misdemeanor dangerous possession of a firearm, and class A misdemeanor theft if committed by an adult. Finding that the trial court acted within its discretion in ordering J.S.'s placement in the DOC, we affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] In 2017, fifteen-year-old J.S. lived with his mother in an Indianapolis apartment. He had a history of disciplinary incidents at school, generally involving fighting and resulting in suspension. He also used marijuana. On October 7, 2017, he attended a party at which firearms were present. Eyewitnesses reported seeing him fire gunshots into the air. A week later, police discovered J.S. sleeping in the front seat of a vehicle identified as one recently stolen in an armed carjacking. He told police that he knew that the vehicle had been stolen and that he and two friends had driven it around, parked it, and fallen asleep. He reported that he had won the vehicle in a dice game, but also said that it had been given to him. Police discovered a loaded handgun in plain view in the front passenger's side floor area. On October 18, 2017, under cause number 49D09-1710-JD-1472 ("Cause 1472"), the State filed a petition alleging that J.S. had committed acts amounting to level 6 felony receiving stolen auto parts and class A misdemeanor criminal trespass if committed by an adult. J.S. was placed on electronic monitoring pending his adjudication.

         [¶3] Three weeks later, police responded to a report of an armed robbery involving two armed juvenile boys who stole a woman's purse, cell phone, and car keys and fled on foot to a nearby apartment. According to a predispositional report filed by the local probation department, a maintenance man observed the boys as they ran and identified one of the boys as J.S. J.S. said that he was inside his apartment when the boys (his friends) asked to enter. He allowed them to enter and stash a firearm and other contraband inside the apartment. Police recovered the firearm from his bedroom, and ballistics testing showed a match with bullet casings found at the scene of the October 7 party. Under cause number 49D09-1711-JD-1623 ("Cause 1623"), the State filed a petition alleging that J.S. had committed acts amounting to level 3 felony armed robbery, level 6 felony pointing a firearm, class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license, and class A misdemeanor theft if committed by an adult. The State also filed a notice of electronic monitoring violation, based on J.S.'s allowing individuals into his home and possessing a firearm.

         [¶4] At the end of 2017, J.S.'s mother found an apartment in another school district and enrolled J.S. for classes beginning in January 2018. During January, J.S. was written up for skipping classes and received one disciplinary referral for disruption on the bus.

         [¶5] In February 2018, under cause number 49D09-1802-JD-178 ("Cause 178"), stemming from the incident at the October 7 party, the State filed a petition alleging that J.S. had committed acts amounting to level 5 felony criminal recklessness, class A misdemeanor dangerous possession of a firearm, and class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license if committed by an adult. The State removed J.S. from his home and placed him in pretrial detention, during which time he accumulated several incident reports.

         [¶6] J.S. entered into an admission agreement, pursuant to which he admitted to acts amounting to receiving stolen auto parts (Cause 1472), class A misdemeanor dangerous possession of a firearm (Cause 1623), and class A misdemeanor theft (Cause 1623) if committed by an adult. In exchange, the State agreed to dismiss the remaining counts in Causes 1472 and 1623 and all counts in Cause 178. The agreement specified that the disposition would be left open to the trial court's discretion, and the trial court ordered a psychological evaluation.

         [¶7] At the dispositional hearing, the trial court admitted the psychologist's report, in which the doctor expressed concern with J.S.'s antisocial behavior, peer associations, possession of firearms, and drug abuse. He also considered J.S.'s risk of recidivism to be moderate to high. Notwithstanding, the doctor recommended that if the court were to return J.S. to the community, he should be afforded close supervision, electronic monitoring, drug abuse screening, and frequent assessment and oversight from the probation department. Appellant's App. Vol. 2 at 154. The public defender agency submitted a proposed plan for returning J.S. home with supervision from his mother, a neighbor, and a cousin and for court-ordered services, monitoring, and curfew. Id. at 135-36. The probation department submitted its predispositional report and testimony recommending that J.S. be placed in the DOC and be subject to a no-contact order concerning certain friends and victims. The trial court issued a dispositional order placing J.S. in the DOC. J.S. now appeals his disposition. Additional facts will be provided as necessary.

         Discussion ...


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