An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Proced ure.

NO. COA05-125


Filed: 17 January 2006

IN RE:    P.L.M.E.                    Gaston County
                                No. 01 J 346

    Appeal by juvenile respondent from orders entered 18 June 2004 by Judge John K. Greenlee in Gaston County District Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 9 January 2005.

    Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General June Ferrell, for the State.

    David Childers for juvenile-appellant.

    CALABRIA, Judge.

    P.L.M.E. (“juvenile”) appeals from orders entered 18 October 2004 revoking her probation and imposing a Level Three disposition committing her to the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for placement in a Youth Development Center for an indefinite term not exceeding six months. We find no error.
    Juvenile was adjudicated delinquent on 14 October 2002 for committing the offenses of assault with a deadly weapon, injury to real property and injury to personal property and was placed on probation for twelve months. The conditions of her probation were to attend school regularly, cooperate with any placement, comply with any recommendations for counseling and/or treatment, and not violate any laws.
    A motion for review filed 23 February 2004 charged juvenilewith violating the conditions of her probation “on or about the time period between August 18, 2004 to January 21, 2004 . . . by being absent or suspended from school[.]” The motion further alleged that “on January 22, 2004 and February 11, 2004 she violated conditions of probation by being discharged from the Shining Star Group Home and BWC Group Home because of her non compliant behavior.”
    In a delinquency petition filed in Mecklenburg County District Court on 4 February 2004, juvenile was charged with assaulting a government officer on 9 December 2003. On 24 February 2004, juvenile admitted to the allegation in the petition and the cause was transferred to Gaston County for disposition. A second motion for review filed in Gaston County District Court on 22 April 2004 charged juvenile with breaching the probationary condition of “not violating any laws” by committing the 9 December 2003 assault on a government officer.
    After a hearing on the two motions for review, the court entered a “Juvenile Order” with the following findings of fact:
        That on or about November 24, 2003, the juvenile was suspended from school for ten days . . . for poor behavior, that being in violation of her probation of July 14, 2003[;] and on January 18, 2004 the juvenile was suspended . . . for three days for poor behavior in violation of the probationary disposition of July 14, 2003.

        Further, [she] was discharged from Shining Star Group Home . . . due to non-compliant behavior on or about January 22, 2004 in violation of the terms of her probation “that she cooperate with placement as arranged through Pathways Mental Health” in that that placement was arranged and she was placedthere through Pathways Mental Health.

        The Court further finds that the juvenile violated that same term and condition of her probation by being discharged from the BWC Group Home . . . for non-compliant behavior on February 11, 2004, that also being a placement arranged by and through Pathways Mental Health.

        The Court finds beyond a reasonable doubt, based upon the above findings that she violated the terms and conditions of her probation entered on July 14, 2003.

Regarding the allegation in the motion for review filed 22 April 2004, the court found that juvenile “admitted voluntarily pursuant to a Transcript of Admission in Mecklenburg County on February 24, 2004 to [a]ssault on a [g]overnment [o]fficial occurring on December 9, 2003,” and further found “beyond a reasonable doubt that the adjudication for [a]ssault on a [g]overnment [o]fficial on February 24, 2004 violates her probation.”
    In its accompanying “Disposition and Commitment Order,” the court reiterated that it had, “beyond a reasonable doubt, found [juvenile] in willful violation of the terms and conditions of her probation entered July 14, 2003.” Juvenile appeals.
    Juvenile argues the trial court failed to make sufficient findings of fact on the issue of the willfulness of her probation violations, particularly in light of her evidence that her “psychiatric and emotional conditions negated willfulness.” Dr. Steve Strezlecki (“Dr. Strezlecki”) performed a psychological evaluation on juvenile on 8 March 2004, where juvenile “indicated . . .that she had bipolar disorder.” Dr. Strezlecki found “evidence of unusual [and] bizarre[] psychotic-like thinking,” aswell as “evidence of hypervigilance [and] paranoia,” which led juvenile to interpret environmental stimuli “differently from what other people may interpret.” Juvenile demonstrated further difficulty responding to emotional stressors, leaving her “less likely to act in a rational manner” when placed “under distress.” As to intellectual ability, however, Dr. Strezlecki found juvenile to have “almost exactly average thinking skills.” In fact, on cross examination, Dr. Strezlecki explained that, although “someone with a psychotic thinking pattern might be less likely to behave rationally,” such a person “would be fully capable of behaving rationally.”
    Under the Juvenile Code, probation violation hearings are informal dispositional proceedings. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2501(b) (2004). To support revocation, “all that is required is that there be competent evidence reasonably sufficient to satisfy the judge in the exercise of a sound judicial discretion that the defendant had, without lawful excuse, willfully violated a valid condition of probation.” In re O'Neal, 160 N.C. App. 409, 412, 585 S.E.2d 478, 481 (quoting State v. Pratt, 21 N.C. App. 538, 540, 204 S.E.2d 906, 907 (1974)), disc. review denied, 357 N.C. 657, 590 S.E.2d 270 (2003) (emphasis added). Moreover, to revoke probation the court need “only find by a preponderance of the evidence that a juvenile has violated the conditions of his probation under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2510(e).” O'Neal, 160 N.C. App. at 412-13, 585 S.E.2d at 481. Once the State establishes such a probationary violation, the juvenile bears the burden of demonstrating a lack ofwillfulness or a lawful excuse. See State v. Crouch, 74 N.C. App. 565, 567, 328 S.E.2d 833, 835 (1985) (citing State v. Young, 21 N.C. App. 316, 320, 204 S.E.2d 185, 187 (1974)). If the juvenile cannot carry this burden, evidence of failure to comply may justify a finding that the violation was willful or without lawful excuse. Id.
    The district court's findings were more than adequate to support its revocation order. Although juvenile presented expert testimony regarding her distorted thinking as well as her difficulty managing emotional responses to stress, she adduced no evidence of an inability to: (1) behave in school, (2) comply with the rules of her group home placements, or (3) refrain from assaulting a police officer. Likewise, she offered no evidence of a lawful excuse for her actions. Indeed, the district court noted that juvenile had previously admitted to delinquency under a petition charging her with the assault on the officer. The trial court expressly found
        [T]here is a transcript of admissions . . . signed by the     juvenile herself and her attorney in Mecklenburg County, in which she admitted to willfully violating the terms and conditions of North Carolina General State [§] 14-33(c)(4), that is, assault on an official or government employee. . . . The evidence before the Court is that...was willful[]. The evidence before the court is that all the allegations were willful.

Thus, in terms of her probationary transgressions, juvenile failed to illustrate either a lack of willfulness or lawful excuse. The court carefully assessed Dr. Strezlecki's testimony as it bore uponthe willfulness of juvenile's probationary violations and determined that revocation of probation was in order. This determination was made under a more rigorous than necessary “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. We hold the trial court did not abuse its discretion and overrule this assignment of error.    
    The record on appeal contains additional assignments of error not addressed by juvenile in her brief to this Court. Pursuant to N.C.R. App. P. 28(b)(6)(2005), we deem them abandoned.
    Judges WYNN and JACKSON concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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