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All opinions are subject to modification and technical correction prior to official publication in the North Carolina Reports and North Carolina Court of Appeals Reports. In the event of discrepancies between the electronic version of an opinion and the print version appearing in the North Carolina Reports and North Carolina Court of Appeals Reports, the latest print version is to be considered authoritative.
IN THE MATTER OF: B.N.S.
Filed: 6 March 2007
Juveniles_possession of weapon on school property_closed pocketknife
The trial court properly denied a juvenile's motion to dismiss an adjudication and
disposition finding him delinquent for possession of a weapon on a school campus. The juvenile
had in his pocket a pocketknife with a 2.5 inch blade; the blade was closed, but the operability of
the weapon is irrelevant.
Appeal by juvenile from orders entered 16 February 2006 by
Judge Craig Croom in Wake County District Court. Heard in the
Court of Appeals 7 February 2007.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General
Barry H. Bloch, for the State.
Michelle FormyDuval Lynch, for juvenile-appellant.
B.N.S. (the juvenile) appeals from adjudication and
dispositional orders entered finding him to be delinquent for
possession of a weapon on a school campus or property. We affirm.
On 26 October 2005, Randall Wells (Wells), the Assistant
Principal of Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School, saw the juvenile
standing in the stairwell wearing a hat. Wearing headgear is
prohibited by school policy. Wells asked the juvenile to remove
his hat. The juvenile refused. Wells asked the juvenile to
accompany him to the school office.
The juvenile complied and followed Wells into the School
Resource Office. Officers Boyce and Bloodworth were present in theSchool Resource Office. Wells asked the juvenile if he would
consent to a search. The juvenile replied, [g]o right ahead.
Wells found a closed pocketknife located inside the juvenile's coat
pocket. Wells testified that the pocketknife's blade was closed
when he removed it. The trial court took judicial notice that the
pocketknife's blade was 2.5 inches long.
The juvenile stated he had borrowed the coat that day and he
did not know the pocketknife was inside the coat pocket. The
juvenile was handcuffed and charged.
On 27 October 2005, a juvenile delinquency petition was filed
against the juvenile for possession of a weapon on a school campus
or property in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.2(d). On 16
February 2006, the trial court adjudicated the juvenile to be
delinquent for possession of a weapon on a school campus or
property. The trial court entered a Level 2 disposition and
ordered the juvenile be confined on an intermittent basis in an
approved detention facility for a maximum of fourteen to twenty-
four hour periods and that the juvenile serve three twenty-four
hour periods in detention immediately following the juvenile's
disposition date. The trial court also ordered the juvenile not
associate with any known gang members or possess any gang
paraphernalia. The juvenile appeals.
The juvenile argues the trial court erred when it denied the
his motion to dismiss.
III. Standard of Review
The standard for ruling on a motion to dismiss
is whether there is substantial evidence (1)
of each essential element of the offense
charged and (2) that defendant is the
perpetrator of the offense. Substantial
evidence is relevant evidence which a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion. In ruling on a motion to
dismiss, the trial court must consider all of
the evidence in the light most favorable to
the State, and the State is entitled to all
reasonable inferences which may be drawn from
the evidence. Any contradictions or
discrepancies arising from the evidence are
properly left for the jury to resolve and do
not warrant dismissal.
State v. Wood, 174 N.C. App. 790, 795, 622 S.E.2d 120, 123 (2005)
(internal quotations omitted).
IV. Motion to Dismiss
The juvenile was adjudicated delinquent for possession of a
weapon on a school campus or property. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-
269.2(d) (2005) states:
(d) It shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor for any
person to possess or carry, whether openly or
concealed, any BB gun, stun gun, air rifle,
air pistol, bowie knife, dirk, dagger,
slungshot, leaded cane, switchblade knife,
blackjack, metallic knuckles, razors and razor
blades (except solely for personal shaving),
firework, or any sharp-pointed or edged
instrument except instructional supplies,
unaltered nail files and clips and tools used
solely for preparation of food, instruction,
and maintenance, on educational property.
(Emphasis supplied). The juvenile argues a closed pocketknife is
not a weapon under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.2(d).
Our Supreme Court stated in Brown v. Flowe, Legislative
intent controls the meaning of a statute. To determine legislative
intent, a court must analyze the statute as a whole, consideringthe chosen words themselves, the spirit of the act, and the
objectives the statute seeks to accomplish. 349 N.C. 520, 522,
507 S.E.2d 894, 895 (1998) (citations omitted). N.C. Gen. Stat.
§ 14-269.2, was enacted for the purpose of 'deter[ring] students
and others from bringing any type of [weapon] onto school grounds'
because of 'the increased necessity for safety in our schools.'
State v. Haskins, 160 N.C. App. 349, 352, 585 S.E.2d 766, 769
(quoting In re Cowley, 120 N.C. App. 274, 276, 461 S.E.2d 804, 806
(1995)), appeal dismissed, 357 N.C. 580, 589 S.E.2d 356 (2003).
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.2 does not require a showing of
criminal intent. Id. The question of operability is not relevant
because the focus of the statute is the increased necessity for
safety in our schools. In re Cowley, 120 N.C. App. at 276, 461
S.E.2d at 806.
This statute specifically exempts:
(1) a weapon used solely for education or
school sanctioned ceremonial purposes, (2) a
weapon used in a school-approved program
conducted under the supervision of an adult
whose supervision has been approved by the
school authority, (3) firefighters, (4)
emergency service personnel, (5) N.C. Forest
Service personnel, (6) certain people, such as
the military, law enforcement and the national
guard, acting in their official capacity, (7)
any private police employed by an educational
institution when acting in the discharge of
official duties, (8) home schools, or (9) a
person who takes possession of a weapon from
another person and immediately delivers the
weapon, as soon as practicable, to law
Haskins, 160 N.C. App. at 354, 585 S.E.2d at 769-70; N.C. Gen.
Stat. § 14-269.2(g) and (h) and § 14-269(b). [T]he exemptions toN.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.2 bear a rational relationship to a
legitimate government interest. . . . [to] strike an appropriate
balance between the safety of our children and the furtherance of
education in this state. Haskins, 160 N.C. App. at 354, 585
S.E.2d at 770.
None of the statutory exemptions apply to the facts before us.
The juvenile possessed a pocketknife with a 2.5 inch blade while
upon school property. A pocketknife has been recognized in this
state as a deadly or dangerous instrumentality as a matter of law.
State v. Young, 317 N.C. 396, 417, 346 S.E.2d 626, 638 (1986).
Although the knife's blade was closed, the operability of the
weapon is irrelevant. Cowley, 120 N.C. App. at 276, 461 S.E.2d at
806. The juvenile possessed a sharp-pointed or edged instrument
as prohibited by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.2(d) and merely had to
open the pocketknife's blade. See id. (The trial court properly
denied the juvenile's motion to dismiss even though his weapon was
inoperable, unloaded, the juvenile did not possess bullets and the
hammer had been filed and would not strike the firing pin.).
It is well established that the purpose of N.C. Gen. Stat. §
14-269.2 is to deter students from bringing a weapon onto school
grounds. Haskins, 160 N.C. App. at 354, 585 S.E.2d at 769. After
reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State,
the trial court did not err in denying the juvenile's motion to
dismiss. The juvenile's assignment of error is overruled.
The trial court properly denied the juvenile's motion to
dismiss. The State presented sufficient evidence tending to show
the juvenile possessed a weapon on a school campus or property.
The trial court's orders are affirmed.
Judges ELMORE and GEER concur.
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