IN THE MATTER OF:
L.O. Wake County
No. 05 J 336
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General
Kathleen U. Baldwin, for the State.
Kevin P. Bradley, for respondent-appellant.
Respondent L.O. appeals from adjudication and disposition
orders finding him delinquent for injury to personal property and
placing him on probation.
Respondent's sole assignment of error is that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over him because the juvenile petition was not filed within the statutorily prescribed time period. At the outset, we note that although respondent did not raise this issue before the trial court, questions regarding whether the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction over the case may be raised for the first time on appeal and, therefore, the issue is properly before us. See State v. Beaver, 291 N.C. 137, 139-40, 229 S.E.2d 179, 181 (1976). The statutory timeline for processing and filing juvenile petitions is governed by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1703, which provides:
(b) Except as provided in G.S. 7B-1706, if the juvenile court counselor determines that a complaint should be filed as a petition, the counselor shall file the petition as soon as practicable, but in any event within 15 days after the complaint is received, with an extension for a maximum of 15 additional days at the discretion of the chief court counselor. The juvenile court counselor shall assist the complainant when necessary with the preparation and filing of the petition, shall include on it the date and the words "Approved for Filing," shall sign it, and shall transmit it to the clerk of superior court.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1703(b)(2006). Thus, the court counselor must file the juvenile petition within a maximum of thirty days after the complaint is received. Respondent asserts that the court counselor failed to file the juvenile petition within the thirty- day time period.
Here, the only indication of when the court counselor received the complaint is the sworn and subscribed juvenile petition signed by Raleigh Police Officer T.A. Brown on 31 March 2005. The intake counselor approved the petition for filing on 21 April 2005. The petition was filed with the court on 19 May 2005. The lapse of time from 31 March 2005 to 19 May 2005 is more than thirty days. We, therefore, conclude the trial court erred by asserting jurisdiction over L.O., as the petition was filed outside the statutory maximum time of thirty days in accordance with N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1703(b). For the reasons stated, the adjudication and disposition orders of the trial court must be vacated and this case remanded to the Wake County District Court for entry of an orderdismissing respondent's action.
Vacated and remanded.
Judges MCCULLOUGH and STEELMAN concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).
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