Justia Juvenile Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Utah Supreme Court
State v. Van Huizen
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals vacating the juvenile judge’s bindover order in this case involving a juvenile’s criminal conduct, holding that it was error to excuse Defendant from preserving his claim of judicial bias.The State charged Defendant with three first-degree felonies in juvenile court. The juvenile judge bound over Defendant, who was sixteen years old when he committed the offenses, to the district court to be tried as an adult. Defendant then pled guilty to lesser charges. While serving his prison sentence, Defendant moved to reinstate the time to appeal his bindover order, which the district court granted. Defendant then argued on appeal that the juvenile judge should have recused herself from his case due to judicial bias. The court of appeals agreed and vacated the bindover order without requiring Defendant to show either that he had preserved his judicial bias claim in the trial court or that an exception to preservation applied. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant’s judicial bias claim was not exempt from the preservation requirement. View "State v. Van Huizen" on Justia Law
D.B. v. State
The State filed a petition that charge D.B. as a principal with theft and criminal trespass for entering a construction site and removing a pair of bolt cutters. The juvenile court adjudicated D.B. a delinquent as an accomplice on both counts. The court of appeals affirmed. D.B. filed a petition for writ of certiorari, claiming that he did not receive adequate Sixth Amendment notice that he may be adjudicated delinquent as an accomplice for the charges. The Supreme Court reversed the delinquency adjudication on the criminal trespass charge but affirmed it on the theft charge, holding (1) D.B. received constitutionally adequate notice through trial testimony that he faced accomplice liability for theft; but (2) the juvenile court adjudicated D.B. delinquent as an accomplice for criminal trespass without notice. Remanded. View "D.B. v. State" on Justia Law
Whitney v. Div. of Juvenile Justice Servs.
Dillon Whitney's mother filed a wrongful death suit against the State after Dillon died while in state custody. The State filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that it was exempt from suit under the incarceration exception to the Governmental Immunity Act of Utah. The federal district court denied the motion, and the State appealed. The Supreme Court accepted certification to answer a question of state law and held (1) a juvenile who is placed in an unsecured community-based proctor home is not incarcerated in a place of legal confinement; and (2) accordingly, the incarceration exception to the State's waiver of its sovereign immunity did not apply in this case, and the State remained potentially liable for damages related to Dillon's death. View "Whitney v. Div. of Juvenile Justice Servs." on Justia Law
State v. J.M.S.
The State filed a delinquency petition alleging that a seventeen-year-old girl had engaged in criminal solicitation to commit murder after she asked a stranger to punch her in the stomach to terminate her pregnancy. The juvenile court (1) held that an assault of a woman by punching her in the stomach was a "procedure" intended to terminate her pregnancy and therefore qualified as an abortion under statute; and (2) dismissed the State's petition against the minor because a woman cannot be held criminally liable for seeking an abortion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the solicited assault of a woman to terminate her pregnancy was not a "procedure" as contemplated by statute and therefore did not constitute an abortion. Remanded. View "State v. J.M.S." on Justia Law