Articles Posted in Juvenile Law

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On or about March 25, 1995, applicant shot and killed Alexander Lopez. Applicant was sixteen years of age at the time. As a result of that incident, the State filed a juvenile-delinquency petition. On April 26, the State filed a motion to waive jurisdiction in the juvenile court and a petition to certify applicant to be tried as an adult. The next day, the case was reset for magistrate warnings to be given to applicant on May 4 and for a transfer hearing to be held on June 7. Applicant received magistrate warnings on May 4, but the transfer hearing was subsequently reset to July 27. On July 27, both parties announced “ready,” and the parties and witnesses were sworn to return at 10:00 a.m. on August 1 for “trial.” On appeal, applicant argued he was not properly served with a summons to the transfer hearing in the juvenile court. He further claimed that, as a consequence of that failure, the juvenile court did not have jurisdiction to transfer him and the district court did not have jurisdiction to try him. The Court of Criminal Appeals filed and set this application “to determine whether the district court lacked jurisdiction and whether this claim should be barred under the doctrine of laches.” After review, the Court concluded that the record did not affirmatively establish the trial court lacked jurisdiction, and consequently, it denied relief. View "Ex parte Rodriguez" on Justia Law

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Appellant Michael Herring was 16 years old when he was arrested for, and charged with, aggravated robbery. Because he was a juvenile, he was given his Miranda warnings by a magistrate. There was conflicting testimony as to whether two armed police officers were present when appellant was given these warnings. After the warnings, appellant was questioned by two police officers, and he confessed to the charged robbery, as well as other robberies and burglaries. The confession was reduced to writing by one of the officers, and appellant signed it. At trial, appellant filed a motion to suppress the signed statement, and argued, among other things, that the statement was taken in violation of Family Code Section 51.095 because armed law-enforcement officers were present when he was given the magistrate's warnings. The motion was denied, and a jury found appellant guilty, sentencing him to 20 years' confinement. Appellant appealed and asserted that the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress. The court of appeals affirmed appellant's conviction. Appellant argued one issue to the Supreme Court: whether Section 51.095(a)(1)(A) permitted law-enforcement officers to be present when a juvenile is initially read his rights. The Court concluded that Section 51.095(a)(1)(A) does not prohibit the presence of law-enforcement officers, and accordingly affirmed. View "Herring v. Texas" on Justia Law