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In re J.Y.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

August 3, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF J.Y.

         FROM THE 323RD DISTRICT COURT OF TARRANT COUNTY TRIAL COURT NO. 323-103907-16

          PANEL MEIER, GABRIEL, and KERR, JJ.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          ELIZABETH KERR JUSTICE

         In December 2016, J.Y., a juvenile, stipulated to and was adjudicated delinquent for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. See Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 29.03(a)(2) (West 2011). The trial court sentenced him to ten years' confinement in the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD), probated for five years. In January 2017, the State moved to modify the trial court's disposition, and in March 2017, the trial court modified its judgment and committed J.Y. To TJJD for ten years. In one issue, J.Y. appeals the trial court's modification order, arguing that because the evidence was insufficient, the trial court abused its discretion. We affirm.

         I. Background

         A. Initial offense

         In July 2016, J.Y. used a firearm to hijack an SUV from its driver. After being spotted by the police a short while later, J.Y. and an accomplice then drove at speeds approaching 100 miles per hour to try to evade capture. In November 2016, a grand jury indicted J.Y. for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. On December 8, 2016, J.Y. stipulated to that offense, and the trial court sentenced him to ten years' confinement in TJJD with a possible transfer to the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, probated for five years, and released J.Y. from the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center.[2]

         B. Present offense

         On the evening of December 8-the very day he received his probation terms and was released from detention-J.Y. went riding with friends in a stolen truck. When Officer Cannon with the Arlington Police Department tried to stop the vehicle, J.Y. and his friends jumped out and ran, leaving a stolen gun on the floorboard. Officer Cannon chased J.Y. on foot and arrested him.

         The State then moved to modify the trial court's disposition order, alleging that J.Y. had violated his probation conditions by fleeing from Officer Cannon, [3] by using marijuana on December 8, 2016, and by testing positive for marijuana or THC on December 10, 2016.

         C. Testimony at disposition-modification hearing

         At the disposition-modification hearing on March 2, 2017, J.Y. stipulated to testimony from his mother, his probation officer, and Officer Cannon. The trial court also heard live testimony from J.Y.'s probation officer, who stated that J.Y.'s mother could not adequately supervise J.Y. at home. A placement probation officer then testified that J.Y. had been accepted to a school in Pennsylvania that could provide for his educational, drug-rehabilitation, and life-skills needs. Although this school is a non-secure facility, it provides regular supervision. The same probation officer testified that the gravity of J.Y.'s offenses would make it hard for him to be accepted into similar programs in Texas.

         D. Studies presented at disposition-modification hearing

         In addition to receiving testimony, the trial court was given a social-history study prepared by J.Y.'s probation officer and a psychological evaluation conducted by a Fort Worth psychologist. The social-history study portrayed J.Y. as a person who did not know how to control his anger, had toxic friendships, used drugs daily, and often skipped school. The psychological evaluation recommended that J.Y. should (1) be provided a "safe and structured environment, " to include a residential facility if his parents could not provide such an environment; (2) be monitored using a tracking device; ...


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