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In re D.J.P.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

January 16, 2014

IN THE MATTER OF D.J.P.

FROM THE 323RD DISTRICT COURT OF TARRANT COUNTY

PANEL: WALKER, J.; LIVINGSTON, C.J.; and DAUPHINOT, J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION[1]

PER CURIAM

I. Introduction

Appellant D.J.P., a juvenile, appeals the trial court's order revoking his probation and sentencing him to an indefinite term of commitment with the Texas Juvenile Justice Department[2] (TJJD). In one issue, D.J.P. argues that the trial court abused its discretion because it sentenced him without reference to any guiding rules or principles. We will affirm.

II. Factual and Procedural Background

A. Probation

On December 19, 2011, the trial court found that D.J.P. had engaged in delinquent conduct and adjudicated him delinquent for the offense of burglary of a habitation that had occurred on or about September 27, 2011, and for the offense of evading arrest that had occurred on or about November 12, 2011. The trial court placed D.J.P. on probation for one year.

B. Motions to Modify Disposition

In April 2012, the State filed a motion to modify disposition, alleging that D.J.P. had possessed a usable quantity of marijuana of two ounces or less on April 16, 2012. The State's motion requested that D.J.P. be placed in the custody of the TJJD. The trial court thereafter extended D.J.P.'s probation until April 19, 2013.

In August 2012, the State filed a motion to modify disposition, alleging that on July 17, 2012, D.J.P. had destroyed tangible property causing a pecuniary loss of $50 or more but less than $500. The State's motion requested that D.J.P. be placed in the custody of the TJJD.

Also during August 2012, D.J.P.'s probation officer, Terri Coney, submitted a progress report to the court. Coney reported that D.J.P.'s mother (Mother) had called her several times during the week regarding D.J.P.'s negative behavior, which included not following Mother's rules and leaving the house without permission. Coney visited the home and requested a urine sample; D.J.P. tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine. D.J.P. admitted to Coney that he had gotten drunk during the previous week and had taken "Triple C's." [3]Coney reported that "until quite recently, " D.J.P. had been noncompliant with the terms of his probation; although he had completed some of what he had been asked to do, he had continued to use drugs and alcohol and to do as he pleased. The trial court ordered D.J.P. to be put on electronic monitoring.

In October 2012, the State filed another motion to modify disposition, alleging that D.J.P. had destroyed tangible property causing a pecuniary loss of $50 or more but less than $500 and had failed to abide by his curfew on July 17, 2012. The State's motion requested that D.J.P. be placed in the custody of the TJJD.

In March 2013, the State filed its third motion to modify, alleging that D.J.P. had caused bodily injury to Mother by striking her with his hand on February 22, 2013. The State's motion requested that D.J.P. be placed in the custody of the TJJD. The State also filed a new petition related to this charge, [4] and the trial court thereafter held an adjudication hearing and a disposition hearing.

C. Adjudication Hearing

At the adjudication hearing, Fort Worth Police Officer Spencer[5] testified that he had responded to a domestic disturbance call on February 22, 2013. Mother told him that she had gotten into an altercation with D.J.P.'s girlfriend, who had pulled Mother's hair. Mother said that D.J.P. had pushed her down and had held her down while his girlfriend hit Mother and that D.J.P. had punched Mother in the face as well. Mother was upset but coherent. Her lip was slightly swollen, and she had a small cut inside her upper lip and a cut on her finger.

Fort Worth Police Officer Andrew M. Jones testified that he had assisted Officer Spencer in responding to Mother's domestic disturbance call; he instructed Mother to write out her statement. The statement that Mother gave on the night of the incident is as follows:

My son[']s girlfriend verbally threatened me and then it turned physical, punches were thrown[;] my son held me down while his girlfriend hit me[;] my son then also started to assa[ul]t me. He busted my lip and nose [and] bit my finger. He then took off running. The punches hurt[;] my lip is busted and hurts.

Mother testified at the adjudication hearing that she has been living with her mother since she lost her job as a respiratory therapist three years ago. Mother described the household as chaotic because she has four children, including D.J.P. who is sixteen, a twelve-year-old son, a four-year-old daughter, and a three-year-old daughter. Mother said that there are three ...


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