In Re T.T.E., 372 N.C. 413 (Aug. 16, 2019)

(1) On appeal from a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. ___, 818 S.E.2d 324 (2018), the court, over a dissent, reversed the Court of Appeals’ conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to send a charge of disorderly conduct, based upon the juvenile’s act of throwing a chair in a school cafeteria, to the jury.  The court first addressed the question of whether the juvenile delinquency petition sufficiently alleged a violation of G.S. 14-288.4.  Finding that the State followed the “true and safe rule” by substantially employing the terminology of the statute in the petition, the court found it sufficient to confer subject matter jurisdiction to the district court.  Though the petition did not specifically cite the subdivision of the statute that the juvenile was alleged to have violated, the court found that the petition’s allegation that the juvenile had thrown a chair toward another student “averred that the juvenile was delinquent for a violation of [G.S. 14-288.4(a)(1)].”  Subsection (a)(1) describes a form of disorderly conduct that occurs when a person “engages in fighting or other violent conduct or in conduct creating the threat of imminent fighting or other violence.” 

(2) Having found the petition sufficient, the court went on to conclude that evidence that the juvenile threw a chair at his brother across the cafeteria where other students were present, when viewed in the light most favorable to the State, was substantial evidence that the juvenile “engag[ed] in violent conduct” in violation of the statute.

A dissenting judge said that the evidence could “fairly be said to raise a suspicion that [the juvenile] engaged in violent conduct, but no more than a suspicion.”  The dissenting judge would have held that the evidence was insufficient to send the charge to the jury.