Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the 305th Judicial District Court Dallas County,
Texas, Trial Court Cause No. JD-17-00800-X
Justices Francis, Fillmore, and Whitehill.
minor, appeals the trial court's judgment committing him
to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department for ten years with
possible transfer to the adult prison system. In his sole
issue, C.G. contends the trial court abused its discretion by
committing him to TJJD because the evidence is legally and
factually insufficient to support the required statutory
findings. We affirm.
State filed a petition alleging C.G., fourteen years of age,
was a child engaged in delinquent conduct. The petition
alleged that on May 4, 2017, C.G. committed theft by
intentionally and knowingly appropriating a purse and its
contents from the person of Melissa Hite. Eight days later,
the State filed a second petition, adding an allegation that
on May 29, 2014, C.G. committed aggravated robbery;
specifically, the petition alleged that while committing
theft of property of Brenda Kappos, C.G. used or exhibited a
firearm and intentionally or knowingly threatened or placed
Kappos in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.
predisposition report filed by the Juvenile Probation
Department two days later stated appellant and another male
suspect exited a stolen Acura and approached a woman standing
outside her truck. The two suspects demanded cash from the
woman at gunpoint and then forced her into the truck while
they drove around trying to find a Wells Fargo ATM so they
could use her ATM card. Once they found the bank, they tried
to use the card but were unsuccessful. The suspects drove the
truck to another location and got out, and the complainant
jumped in the driver's seat and sped away.
report also detailed the allegations of the theft. According
to the report, a woman was seated on a bench at a DART
station when two juveniles "snatched" her purse
from her arm and fled. The woman chased the suspects and
yelled for help. Two witnesses helped detain the suspects,
one of whom was identified as C.G.
trial court conducted an adjudication and disposition
hearing. At the hearing, C.G. pleaded true to the allegations
in the petition. The trial court accepted C.G.'s pleas,
found he was a child engaged in delinquent conduct, and found
he was subject to a determinate sentence for aggravated
robbery. The trial court then heard evidence regarding the
testified he and three others--John, Luke, and Petie-- were
involved in the offense. According to C.G., John and Luke
"ran up" on the lady and John pushed her into her
truck; Petie drove the Acura that took them to the location.
C.G. told the court he dropped "Luke at the Acura with
[John] and Petie" and witnessed the event from a
different vehicle. Afterwards, he said the others called him
to see if he knew how to use the woman's ATM card. C.G.
said he "was about to approach" the bank's ATM
machine, but decided to give the card back to Luke. On
cross-examination, C.G. said he tried to tell the others
"not to do it" but they "kept pushing the
lady" and John "shoved" her into the vehicle.
When asked his role in the aggravated robbery, C.G. said,
"With the ATM machine."
gave a vastly different version of C.G.'s role in the
offense. She testified she arrived in Dallas from Austin
shortly after 11 p.m. to visit her daughter and
granddaughter. She parked her truck on the street temporarily
so she could unload her belongings when two "kids"
suddenly "rushed at" her. One of the kids was C.G.
Kappos said C.G. shoved a gun into her stomach and demanded
her money. When she refused to get in the truck with them,
the other boy put a gun to her temple and another gun was put
in her back. They told her to "get in the truck or you
said the boys shoved her into the truck and forced her at
gunpoint onto the floorboard in the back seat. C.G. was in
the backseat with her, holding a gun on her, while the other
boy drove. They wanted money, and Kappos gave C.G. $80 that
was in her purse, but the boys were disappointed with the
amount. She told them her money was in the bank and offered
them her ATM card. During this ordeal, Kappos said the driver
kept telling C.G. to "kill her, just kill her, just kill
her." Both boys threatened her family and said they
would find her daughter and get money from her.
boys drove to a nearby townhome where she believed one of
them lived; the driver talked to an adult through a window,
showed off the truck they had stolen, and said Kappos was
going to get them more money. From there, she tried to give
them directions to an ATM she was familiar with, but the
drive was "scary" because the driver went down the
wrong way on one-way streets and ran red lights and stop
signs. She said her abductors wanted to stay on "dark
streets" and she believed they were going to get her
money, dump the truck, and leave her "for dead."
they found a Wells Fargo ATM machine, but neither boy could
figure out how to use her card. They accused Kappos of lying
to them about the card code and said she "was
dead." The driver drove to a dark street and the two
boys got out. While they were out of the vehicle, Kappos
"jumped into the front" and drove off. She went to
a Target, but it was closed. An employee was leaving, and she
asked him to call 911. She was "too scared" to stay
because the parking lot was empty so she drove to another
location and had the police come there. Kappos suffered a
bruise to her leg from the gun being held to it. She said
other than "poking the guns" at her, her assailants
"weren't physical" with her. She testified she
believed the boys were going to kill her and believed C.G.
should "do his time."
Valanos, the court assessment officer for the Juvenile
Department, testified C.G. was in need of rehabilitation, and
said a disposition should be made for the protection of the
public and C.G. Valanos said the department recommended C.G.
be placed on probation for one year at the Lyle B. Medlock
facility, and she stood by that recommendation after hearing
Kappos's testimony. Valanos said a co-worker spoke to
Kappos about restitution, but no one talked to her about what
she went through during the robbery. Although the department
did not know three weapons had been used, it considered
Kappos to have been kidnapped and her life threatened. When
asked if she believed C.G. was taking responsibility for his
actions, Valanos said, "I don't know." Valanos
recommended drug intervention for C.G. and acknowledged he
could get it at TJJD. She also testified C.G. had committed a
third offense, unlawful use of a motor vehicle on May 1, but
no charges were filed. She said the department found
supervision in C.G.'s home "questionable" and
said C.G. had poor attendance at school and a ...