In the Matter of: I.W.P., ____ N.C. App. ____ (May 1, 2018)

Dismissed in part
Remanded in part
Affirmed in Part
  • Facts: The juvenile, who was already on probation, encouraged another youth to pull the fire alarm of a middle school on the last day of school. Evidence presented during adjudication included that the juvenile asked the other youth to pull the alarm four different times during at least two classes before the other youth pulled the alarm. Chaos followed as students attempted to exit the school. The juvenile was adjudicated delinquent for disorderly conduct. 
  • Opinion:
    • Sufficiency of the Evidence: While counsel for the juvenile made a motion to dismiss at the close of the State’s evidence, counsel proceeded to present evidence on behalf of the juvenile after that motion was denied. Counsel did not renew the motion at the close of all evidence, failing to preserve the issue for appeal. The Court declined to review this argument pursuant to Rule 2 because there was sufficient evidence for each element of the criminal offense. Manifest injustice cannot exist and suspension of appellate rules pursuant to Rule 2 is not justified when there is sufficient evidence of each element of the offense. This issue is dismissed.
    • Sufficiency of Adjudication Order: The adjudication order was sufficient to comply with G.S. 7B-2411. It included: identification of disorderly conduct as the type of offense; offense date; and date the petition was filed. It also included: delinquency hearing as the type of proceeding; judge’s signature; date; proof of filing; ; a description of the specific conduct; and the conclusion of law indicating delinquency.
    • Dispositional Considerations: The trial court must consider each of the five factors listed in G.S. 7B-2501(c) when crafting a disposition. This holding resolves the conflict created by In re D.E.P. ___ N.C.App. ___ (Febraury 7, 2017) which diverged from a previous line of cases in holding that there is not a need for finding of facts regarding all five factors listed in G.S. 7B-2501(c), including factors which are irrelevant to the case or regarding which no evidence was presented. When two lines of cases conflict, the older line of cases is controlling. Respess v. Respess, 232 N.C. App. 611 (2014). The older line of cases on this issue (In re Ferrell, 162 N.C. App. 175 (2004); In re V.M., 211 N.C. App. 389 (2011); In re K.C., 226 N.C. App. 452 (2013); and In re G.C., 230 N.C. App. 511 (2013)) hold that all five factors enumerated in the statute must be considered when developing a disposition and that is therefore the controlling law. Two required factors, the seriousness of the offense and the degree of culpability of the juvenile, were not addressed in this dispositional order. Remanded for further findings of fact to address these two factors.
    • Improper Delegation of Authority: The trial court properly selected community dispositions that are allowable under G.S. 7B-2506, appropriately leaving day-to-day implementation to the court counselor. 
    • Clerical Error: Failure to check the appropriate box in the conclusions of law section on the pre-printed adjudication order form was clerical error. An error in the supplemental order regarding the date that twelve months of probation would terminate was clerical error. Remanded for correction of both clerical errors.
Disposition Order
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