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D.P. v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

November 18, 2019

D.P., Appellant-Respondent,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Petitioner.

          Appeal from the Putnam Circuit Court No. 67C01-1901-JD-3. The Honorable Matthew L. Headley, Judge

          Attorney for Appellant Joel C. Wieneke Wieneke Law Office, LLC Brooklyn, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Angela N. Sanchez Assistant Section Chief, Criminal Appeals Indianapolis, Indiana

          BROWN, JUDGE.

         [¶1] D.P. appeals the denial of his motion to dismiss a delinquency petition after D.P. reached twenty-one years of age. We affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] On January 9, 2019, the State filed a delinquency petition alleging that in 2012, when D.P. was sixteen years old, he committed an act that would constitute child molesting as a class B felony if committed by an adult. The next day, the State filed a motion to waive juvenile jurisdiction pursuant to Ind. Code § 31-30-3-5.

         [¶3] On January 15, 2019, the court held a hearing at which D.P. indicated he is a twenty-three-year-old adult. D.P.'s counsel indicated that D.P. would admit the allegations, and the court stated it would not accept the admission with a pending motion to transfer the matter to adult court. The court entered an order approving the filing of the delinquency petition.

         [¶4] On February 11, 2019, D.P. filed a motion to dismiss alleging that the court had no subject matter jurisdiction over him at the time the delinquency petition was filed because he was twenty-three years old. He asserted that Ind. Code § 31-30-1-1 provides "exclusive original jurisdiction" over proceedings when a person is alleged to be a delinquent child, but that the jurisdiction continues only until "the child becomes 21 years of age." Appellant's Appendix Volume II at 7.

         [¶5] At the February 12, 2019 hearing, the court asked D.P.'s counsel, "are you saying that the State also could not file a charge, a criminal charge against him because he was under the age of 18?" Transcript Volume II at 17. Counsel answered:

Well, once again, the exclusive jurisdiction over crimes committed by juveniles lies with the juvenile court. If the State waits until the juvenile ages out of the system, not only does the juvenile court lose jurisdiction, it doesn't suddenly revert to the adult criminal court because they have no jurisdiction under - over crimes committed as a juvenile. So, yes, they - by sitting on the case for six years, that's what the result is.

Id. The prosecutor asserted that D.P.'s counsel was "basically imposing a statute of limitations on child molest allegations" and argued that the offense was recently disclosed. Id.

         [¶6] On February 26, 2019, the court denied D.P.'s motion to dismiss finding that it had original jurisdiction because the allegation occurred when D.P. was sixteen years old and that the prosecutor properly filed the delinquency petition and had the right to file a waiver request pursuant to Ind. Code §§ 31-30-3. The order states:

The suggestion by the child that the juvenile court does not have jurisdiction is a non-starter. I.C. 31-30-2-1 deals with continuing juvenile jurisdiction until 21 (that a child has previously been adjudicated a delinquent and upon his 21st birthday, the juvenile court's jurisdiction ...

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