Court of Appeals of Texas, Eighth District, El Paso
from the 65th District Court of El Paso County, Texas (TC#
McClure, C.J., Rodriguez, and Hughes, JJ.
T. RODRIGUEZ, Justice .
appeal arises from a juvenile's plea of true during his
adjudication hearing. A.A.R., a juvenile, was charged with
criminal mischief. At the time the offense was alleged to
have been committed in 2014, criminal mischief was a felony
of the third degree if the amount of the pecuniary loss is
$20, 000 or more but less than $100, 000. Act of June 19,
2009, 81st Leg., R.S., ch. 638, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2009,
amended by Act of June 20, 2015, 84th Leg., R.S.,
ch. 1251, § 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2015 (current version at
Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 28.03(b)(5))(criminal mischief
now third-degree felony when pecuniary loss is $30, 000 or
more but less than $150, 000).
waived a jury trial, stipulated to evidence of his guilt, and
pleaded "true" to the allegations in the
State's petition. The trial court accepted the plea of
true, adjudicated A.A.R. delinquent, and entered a
disposition of probation. On appeal, A.A.R. argues the trial
court erred in denying his motion to withdraw his plea of
true because the plea was: (1) not knowingly or intelligently
made; (2) not knowingly made as the result of counsel's
alleged failure to review the evidence with him; and (3) not
knowingly made as he nor his parents were correctly informed
as to the legal consequences of him waiving a jury trial and
entering a plea of true. We affirm.
beginning of the adjudication hearing, the trial court first
inquired whether A.A.R. understood the accusations against
him, and stated its understanding that A.A.R. intended to
admit to them. A.A.R. responded affirmatively to the question
and statement. The trial court then explained to A.A.R. in
the presence of his father, A.R., and mother, S.G.:
THE COURT: But before we go on with your hearing, I need to
go over your rights and some other matters so that you
understand the consequences of your decision. So as I go
along if you don't understand something make sure you
stop me and we'll go back over it again. All right. I
want you to make sure you understand what you are doing here
. . . .
You have the right to have Judge Gutierrez hear your case,
she is the juvenile court judge for El Paso County or you can
have me hear the case today. I am the juvenile court referee
for the County. My understanding is you want to go ahead and
proceed today, is that correct?
THE COURT: You also have the right to remain silent. You
don't have to say anything if you don't want to. You
have the right to be represented by an attorney, Ms. Reyes is
right there with you. If you need to talk to her during the
hearing, just go ahead and do so. And you have a right
through your attorney to cross-examine any witness called by
You have a right to have ten days to prepare for trial. You
need to know that as you sit there right now you are presumed
innocent. So that means legally at this stage of your case
you haven't done anything wrong. Because of that you
don't have to prove anything. The State is the one
that's brought the allegation against you. They have to
prove it and they have to prove it by bringing enough
evidence into court to satisfy the jury or the judge that you
did what you are accused of. So if they can't do that for
some reason you'll be found not delinquent. But keep in
mind that even though you don't have to do anything, if
you do want to submit evidence in your defense you are free
to do that, just make sure you discuss that with your
And then I'll tell you one of your most important rights
is to have a jury decide your case, that's a jury trial.
That is what you are scheduled for next week, so if you want
to deny the allegations, we would come back next Friday or a
week from this Friday and so that day we bring in a group of
citizens from the community, we talk to them, eventually we
would select 12 people out of that group to be your jury.
They would sit here in the jury box. We start taking the
evidence on Friday probably continue on until the following
week. All the evidence is presented to the jury during the
trial and then at the end of the trial, the jury decides if
you did what you are accused of.
But my understanding is you do not want to have a jury trial,
is that correct?
THE COURT: All right. Now, if you admit to the allegation
here today there is a consequence for your actions that will
be decided at the next hearing on October 7th and the options
available to the court will be to place you on some kind of
probation up to the age of 18, it can be either in home or
out-of-home or commit you, that means send you away to the
Texas Juvenile Justice Department up to the age of 19.
We'll make that decision at the next hearing.
And then also you need to know you have a juvenile record now
and this record can be used against you as an adult if you
get in trouble as an adult. So from 17 on in Texas you are
considered an adult in the criminal system. If you go out
after that date and you commit a crime and you are convicted
then during that indication they can find out about this case
here today. If they do it's probably going to have some
negative impact on them. So as long as you stay out of
trouble[, you] don't need to worry. But if you do get in
trouble as an adult[, ] it will come back on you.
The last thing you need to know is if you are not a U.S.
citizen it could jeopardize your status in this country. That
only applies if you are not a ...