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Bell v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

June 28, 2018

KENDALL BELL, Appellant
v.
THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 263rd District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 1394740

          Panel consists of Justices Keyes, Brown, and Caughey.

          OPINION

          Jennifer Caughey Justice.

         When Kendall Bell was 16, the State filed a petition in a Harris County juvenile court alleging that he had engaged in delinquent conduct by committing aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. On the State's motion, the juvenile court concluded that, because of the seriousness of Bell's offense, the welfare of the community required criminal proceedings. The juvenile court waived its jurisdiction and transferred the case to criminal district court, where Bell pleaded guilty without an agreed recommendation. The criminal district court deferred a finding of guilt and placed him on community supervision for six years. The State later moved to adjudicate, alleging that Bell had violated the terms of his supervision. Following a hearing, the district court granted the motion, found Bell guilty of aggravated robbery, and sentenced him to 20 years' imprisonment.

         On appeal, Bell contended that, under Moon v. State, 451 S.W.3d 28 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014), the juvenile court abused its discretion by waiving jurisdiction without making sufficient case-specific findings supporting its conclusion that the welfare of the community required criminal proceedings. Our Court agreed that the juvenile court did not provide sufficient case-specific findings, vacated the district court's judgment, dismissed the criminal case, and remanded to the juvenile court for further proceedings.

         The State filed a petition with the Court of Criminal Appeals, arguing for the first time that this Court lacked jurisdiction to hear Bell's complaint because he did not contest the juvenile transfer when the trial court entered its order of deferred adjudication. The Court of Criminal Appeals remanded the case so that we could consider the jurisdictional issue in the first instance. Bell v. State, 515 S.W.3d 900, 901 (Tex. Crim. App. 2017) (per curiam).

         We conclude that we have jurisdiction to hear Bell's complaint. The Court of Criminal Appeals refused with prejudice the State's petition for discretionary review as to the remaining issues in the case. See id. We therefore adopt this court's prior opinion, Bell v. State, 512 S.W.3d 553 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2016), vacated on other grounds, 515 S.W.3d 900 (Tex. Crim. App. 2017).

         Background

         Juvenile court's waiver of jurisdiction

         The State asked the juvenile court to waive jurisdiction. At the hearing on the State's motion, the juvenile court admitted three exhibits: proof that Bell had been served, a stipulation of Bell's birth date, and a probation report. The juvenile court also heard testimony from three witnesses, including Deputy A. Alanis of the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

         After the hearing, the juvenile court waived jurisdiction and transferred the case to the criminal district court. The juvenile court concluded that, because of the seriousness of Bell's offense, the welfare of the community required criminal proceedings.

         Proceedings in the criminal district court

         In the criminal district court, Bell pleaded guilty without an agreed recommendation. The court entered an order of deferred adjudication, deferred a finding of guilt, and placed Bell on community supervision for six years. The State later moved to adjudicate, alleging that Bell had violated the terms of his supervision. In May 2015, the district court granted the motion, found Bell guilty of aggravated robbery, and sentenced Bell to 20 years' imprisonment. Bell appealed.

         Ju ...


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