Appeal by juvenile from a disposition order entered 20
September 2004 by Judge James K. Roberson in Alamance County
District Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 7 December 2005.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General
Christine Goebel, for the State.
Kathryn L. VandenBerg for juvenile-appellant.
On 21 July and 17 August, 2004 three petitions were filed
(See footnote 1)
(the juvenile), charging him with breaking and
entering, trespass, and injury to real property. A fourth petition
was filed against the juvenile on 2 September 2004, charging him
with intimidating a witness. An adjudication hearing for the
charges of breaking and entering, trespass, and injury to real
property was held on 2 and 3 September 2004 before the Honorable
Bradley Reid Allen, Sr. At the close of the adjudication hearing,
the district court found the juvenile delinquent of all charges
alleged in the petitions before the court.
After adjudicating the juvenile as delinquent on the three
misdemeanor charges, the district court reviewed the petition
charging the juvenile with intimidation of a witness and heard from
both the State and the juvenile on the issue of custody. The
district court then continued the disposition hearing for one week
and ordered the juvenile into secure custody until 9 September
2004, the date of his scheduled hearing on the charge of
intimidating a witness.
On 9 September 2004, an adjudication hearing on the charge of
intimidating a witness was held before the Honorable James K.
Roberson. The juvenile was found delinquent and Judge Roberson
proceeded to a disposition hearing on all offenses and entered a
disposition order on 20 September 2004. The juvenile appeals.
The juvenile presents two issues on appeal: (I) whether the
district court erred in failing to dismiss the charge of
intimidating a witness; and (II) whether the district court erred
in delaying the disposition hearing following the 3 September 2004
adjudication and in ordering the juvenile into custody without
 The juvenile first argues the district court erred in
failing to dismiss the charge of intimidating a witness because the
evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to show he made a
threat or intended to intimidate a witness from testifying. We
The law governing a ruling on a motion to dismiss is well
The trial court must determine only whether
there is substantial evidence of each
essential element of the offense charged and
of the defendant being the perpetrator of the
offense. State v. Crawford
, 344 N.C. 65, 73,
472 S.E.2d 920, 925 (1996). Evidence is
substantial if it is relevant and adequate to
convince a reasonable mind to accept a
conclusion. State v. Vick
, 341 N.C. 569,
583-84, 461 S.E.2d 655, 663 (1995). In
considering a motion to dismiss, the trial
court must analyze the evidence in the light
most favorable to the State and give the State
the benefit of every reasonable inference from
the evidence. State v. Gibson
, 342 N.C. 142,
150, 463 S.E.2d 193, 199 (1995). The trial
court must also resolve any contradictions in
the evidence in the State's favor. State v.
, 353 N.C. 568, 581, 548 S.E.2d 712, 721
(2001). The trial court does not weigh the
evidence, consider evidence unfavorable to the
State, or determine any witness' credibility.
State v. Parker
, 354 N.C. 268, 278, 553 S.E.2d 885, 894 (2001).
If the trial court determines that a reasonable
inference of the
defendant's guilt may
be drawn from the evidence, it must deny the
defendant's motion and send the case to the jury even though the
evidence may also support reasonable inferences of the defendant's
innocence. State v. Smith
, 40 N.C. App. 72, 79, 252 S.E.2d 535,
To withstand the juvenile's motion to dismiss in the instant
case, the State was required to show substantial evidence of each
essential element of the crime of intimidating a witness:
If any person shall by threats, menaces or in
any other manner intimidate or attempt to
intimidate any person who is summoned or
acting as a witness in any of the courts of
this State, or prevent or deter, or attempt to
prevent or deter any person summoned or acting
as such witness from attendance upon such
court, he shall be guilty of a Class H felony.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-226 (2003). The juvenile argues the evidence
of the alleged threat was insubstantial, and further that there was
no evidence showing the alleged threat was intended to intimidate
a witness from testifying.
In the instant case, B.T., another juvenile, had admitted the
allegations that he and the juvenile had broken into and entered a
local mill. In open court and in the juvenile's presence, B.T.
agreed to be a witness for the State against the juvenile
concerning his charge of breaking and entering. While B.T. was
sitting in court and after he agreed to be a witness for the State,
the juvenile stood up, turned toward B.T. and mouthed the words
I'm going to kick your ass. Court Counselor Heather Maddry sawthe juvenile mouth his threat at B.T. Maddry went over to B.T. and
asked if the juvenile threatened him and B.T. responded Yes.
This is sufficient evidence to establish that the juvenile
attempted to intimidate B.T. by threats to prevent or deter B.T.
from acting as a witness testifying against the juvenile at his
upcoming hearing. This assignment of error is overruled.
 The juvenile also argues that the district court erred in
delaying the disposition hearing following the adjudication on 3
September 2004 and in ordering him into custody without adequate
justification. We disagree.
The juvenile first argues that as the court counselor's
recommended disposition report was completed and ready for the
district court's review and no party sought a delay in the
disposition hearing, the district court was required to immediately
hold a disposition hearing. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2413 (2003) (The
court shall proceed to the dispositional hearing upon receipt of
the predisposition report.) However, Section 7B-2406 of the North
Carolina General Statutes directly addresses the issue of
continuances for a hearing involving a juvenile matter: [t]he
court for good cause may continue the hearing for as long as is
reasonably required to receive additional evidence, reports, or
assessments that the court has requested, or other information
needed in the best interests of the juvenile . . . . N.C. Gen.
Stat. § 7B-2406 (2003). As the district court may continue a
juvenile hearing for good cause, our review is whether thedistrict court abused its discretion. See, e.g., State v. Beck
346 N.C. 750, 756, 487 S.E.2d 751, 755 (1997). A trial court may
be reversed for abuse of discretion only upon a showing that its
actions are manifestly unsupported by reason. White v. White
N.C. 770, 777, 324 S.E.2d 829, 833 (1985).
The purpose of dispositions in juvenile actions is to design
an appropriate plan to meet the needs of the juvenile and to
achieve the objectives of the State in exercising jurisdiction,
including the protection of the public. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2500
(2003). In the instant case, a new charge of intimidating a
witness was filed against the juvenile arising out of his actions
during the adjudication hearing. As postponing disposition upon
the three adjudicated misdemeanors would allow for the district
court to take a more comprehensive view of the interests of both
the juvenile and the State, it was reasonable for the district
court to continue the disposition hearing until after the
juvenile's adjudication on the charge of intimidating a witness.
The juvenile has shown no abuse of discretion by the district
The juvenile also argues it was error for the district court
to order him into secure custody until his hearing on the charge of
intimidating a witness. When a juvenile has been adjudicated
delinquent, the court may order secure custody pending the
dispositional hearing . . . . N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1903(c)
(2003). In its Order for Secure Custody the district court
indicated two separate findings to support the juvenile'sdetention: (1) The juvenile is charged with a felony and has
demonstrated that he or she is a danger to property or persons;
and (2) The juvenile has been adjudicated delinquent and the
juvenile should be in secure custody pending the disposition
hearing or pending placement pursuant to G.S. 7B-2506. As the
district court had just adjudicated the juvenile delinquent on
three different charges, the second reason is sufficient to support
the district court's order. This assignment of error is overruled.
Judges CALABRIA and JACKSON concur.