Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler
from the County Court at Law No. 1 of Henderson County, Texas
consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Neeley, J.
appeals the juvenile court's order of discretionary
transfer of his case to adult criminal court. In his sole
issue, Appellant challenges the legal and factual sufficiency
of the evidence of his age at the time of the offense and the
timeliness of the prosecution. We affirm.
State filed a petition for discretionary transfer in the
juvenile court alleging that Appellant committed two felony
offenses when he was more than fourteen but less than
seventeen years of age. First, it alleged that Appellant
engaged in sexual contact with H.M., a child under the age of
fourteen, by touching his genitals. Second, it alleged that
Appellant caused H.M.'s sexual organ to contact
Appellant's mouth. The State further alleged that Appellant
was currently twenty-one years of age and it was not
practicable to proceed in juvenile court before his
eighteenth birthday because the State was not then aware of
hearing on the matter, the juvenile court found probable
cause to believe that Appellant committed the offenses. The
court further found that he was over fourteen years of age at
the time of the offenses and over eighteen years of age when
they were initially reported. Thus, the court found that it
was not practicable to proceed before Appellant's
eighteenth birthday. Finally, the court found that the
welfare of the community requires criminal proceedings in the
matter, waived its exclusive original jurisdiction, and
ordered the case transferred to district court. This appeal
sole issue, Appellant argues that the evidence regarding his
age at the time of the offenses and the timeliness of the
prosecution is legally and factually insufficient to support
the transfer order.
of Review and Applicable Law
juvenile courts have exclusive original jurisdiction over
proceedings in cases involving the delinquent conduct of an
adult who was a child at the time of the conduct. Tex. Fam.
Code Ann. § 51.04(a) (West Supp. 2018). Delinquent
conduct includes conduct other than a traffic offense that
violates a penal law and is punishable by imprisonment or
confinement in jail. Id. § 51.03(a) (West Supp.
2018). "Child" includes a person who is ten years
of age or older and under seventeen years of age.
Id. § 51.02(2)(A) (West Supp. 2018). Regarding
the transfer of such cases, family code Section 54.02(j)
provides, in pertinent part, that
[t]he juvenile court may waive its exclusive original
jurisdiction and transfer a person to the appropriate
district court or criminal district court for criminal
(1) the person is 18 years of age or ...