Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the County Court at Law No. 2, Webb County, Texas Trial Court
No. 2017JV3000176L2 Honorable Victor Villarreal, Judge
Sitting: Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice Irene Rios, Justice
Beth Watkins, Justice
appeals the juvenile court's order committing him to the
Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) for an indeterminate
term, not to exceed his nineteenth birthday. On appeal,
J.M.E. argues the juvenile court abused its discretion
because less restrictive alternatives were available and
commitment to the TJJD violated his Eighth Amendment rights.
We affirm the juvenile court's order.
November 6, 2017, the juvenile court signed an order finding
that J.M.E. was a child who engaged in delinquent conduct by
committing a felony 3 offense of alien smuggling, a violation
of section 20.05 of the Texas Penal Code. The juvenile court
placed J.M.E. on probation for fifteen months, with the first
four months on intensive supervision probation
("ISP"). He was placed at the Judge Ricardo Garcia
Regional Detention Center ("the Center") and
ordered to complete certain services including "CAPS and
SCAN counseling, SWK [Southwest Keys Program] after
completion of ISP, Cognitive Life Skills at YV [Youth
30, 2018, J.M.E. was unsuccessfully discharged from the
Center because he failed to comply with its requirements. He
was detained at the TJJD, but was later transferred to the
Webb County Jail after assaulting another juvenile. Since his
transfer, he has not been released. On January 12, 2019, the
State filed a motion to modify disposition, alleging J.M.E.
violated the conditions of his probation because he was
unsuccessfully discharged from the Center and failed to
complete any of the court-ordered services.
hearing on the State's motion to modify, J.M.E. pled true
to being unsuccessfully discharged from the Center and
failing to complete any of the court-ordered services. The
juvenile court also heard testimony from J.M.E.'s
probation officer, Officer Pryscilla Castillo, who testified
J.M.E. was unsuccessfully discharged from the Center because
he did not participate in counseling sessions and initiated
fights with other juveniles at the Center. She further
testified that J.M.E. could not be placed with his parents
after his unsuccessful discharge because they did not provide
Castillo also testified that J.M.E. had a history of
delinquent conduct and substance abuse. She stated that
before his current probation, J.M.E. had been referred to the
juvenile court ten times and placed on probation twice for
nonviolent offenses. She further testified he failed to
successfully complete his first probation because he
reoffended, and his probation was extended as a result. The
record reflects he served that probation concurrently with
his instant probation until that case was closed in May of
2018 and he was unsuccessfully discharged from the Center.
Officer Castillo also testified that during his previous
probations, J.M.E. tested positive multiple times for THC and
once for cocaine and benzodiazepines. His last drug test was
November 6, 2017, and he tested positive for THC.
his behavior, Officer Castillo testified that while at the
Webb County Jail, J.M.E. was attending school, receiving good
grades, attending CAPS counseling, and receiving SCAN
services. She explained that in contrast, while at the
Center, he failed to comply with the Center's
requirements even after he was given a second chance. She
testified she believed it was in J.M.E.'s best interest
to be placed at the TJJD rather than a boot camp because even
though he may qualify for a boot camp, a structured facility
like the TJJD would provide J.M.E. with all the services he
needed and the best opportunity to rehabilitate.
end of the hearing, the juvenile court found that J.M.E. had
violated the terms of his probation and ordered him committed
to the TJJD. J.M.E. appeals.
juvenile court has broad discretion to determine a suitable
disposition for a juvenile found to have engaged in
delinquent conduct, particularly in proceedings involving
modification. In re J.P., 136 S.W.3d 629, 633 (Tex.
2004); In re P.E.C., 211 S.W.3d 368, 370 (Tex.
App.-San Antonio 2006, no pet.). A trial court abuses its
discretion when it acts arbitrarily or unreasonably or
without reference to guiding rules or principles. In re
P.E.C., 211 S.W.3d at 370. Absent such a ...