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1. Juveniles--delinquency--making false bomb threat at school--sufficiency of evidence
The trial court did not err by denying respondent juvenile's motion to dismiss a juvenile delinquency petition based on a violation of N.C.G.S. § 14-69.1(a) for making a false bomb threat at a school, because there was substantial evidence of each element of the offense and of the juvenile being the perpetrator including: (1) a teacher stated the juvenile should have been the last student to use the pertinent calculator prior to another student finding the message on 8 May 2006; (2) two students testified they saw the words Bomb at Lunch on the pertinent calculator; (3) a student testified that a few days after the bomb threat she heard the juvenile say that she meant it as a prank and that she did not think they would take it seriously; and (4) another student testified that a day after the bomb threat, she heard the juvenile tell another student that the reason the juvenile did the bomb threat was based on the fact that she thought it would be fun to get out of school.
2. Juveniles--delinquency--making false bomb threat at school--motion to dismiss_-
proper statute--plain error analysis
Although a juvenile contends the trial court committed plain error by denying her motion to dismiss based on an alleged improper conviction under N.C.G.S. § 14-69.1(a) for making a false bomb threat at a school even though she contends she should have been charged under N.C.G.S. § 14-69.1(c) which deals specifically with public buildings, this assignment of error is dismissed because: (1) our Supreme Court has applied the plain error rule only to issues relating to jury instructions or the admissibility of evidence; and (2) this issue does not fall within these categories.
3. Jurisdiction--subject matter--making of a false bomb threat at a school_-proper
The trial court did not lack subject matter jurisdiction in a juvenile delinquency case based on the making of a false bomb threat at a school even though the juvenile contends she was improperly charged, tried, and convicted under N.C.G.S. § 14.69.1(a), which applies to any building, rather than N.C.G.S. § 14.69.1(c), which applies to any public building, because: (1) there was substantial evidence of every element of making a false report concerning a destructive device under N.C.G.S. § 14.69.1(a); (2) although N.C.G.S. § 14.69.1(c) specifically defines the offense of making a false report concerning a destructive device with respect to a public building, the State was not required to charge the juvenile under this subsection of the statute; (3) any building, as used in N.C.G.S. § 14.69.1(a), includes a public building or a school building; (4) the General Assembly only intended to provide for a tougher penalty in the case of successive violations when it enacted the separate offense under N.C.G.S. § 14.69.1(c); and (4) although the juvenile contends that the more direct and specific statute applies where one of two statutes might apply to the same situation, our Supreme Court has employed this principle in determining which statute of limitations provision applied, and the juvenile has not cited any decision in which this principle was applied in a situation analogous to the present case.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General
Rebecca E. Lem, for the State.
McCotter, Ashton & Smith, P.A., by Rudolph A. Ashton, III and Terri W. Sharp, for Respondent.
A juvenile petition was filed on 17 May 2006 charging B.D.N. with
communicat[ing] a report by typing 'Bomb at Lunch' on a Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus Calculator to Swansboro Middle School knowing or having reason to know the report to be false, that there was located in a school a device designed to destroy or damage the building by explosion in violation of [N.C. Gen. Stat. §] 14-69.1(a).
At a hearing, E.P., a student at Swansboro Middle School, testified that she went to her math class on 8 May 2006, got a calculator, and sat down. When she turned on the calculator, she saw the words "Bomb at Lunch" displayed on the calculator. E.P. raised her hand and told her teacher, Myra Hager (Ms. Hager), that she needed to show her something on the calculator. Ms. Hager told E.P. not to disrupt class, and Ms. Hager did not look at the calculator. After the math class, E.P. told her social studies teacher, Katie Bolinger (Ms. Bolinger), what she had seen on the calculator. Ms. Bolinger went to look at the calculator and then discussed the situation with Ms. Hager. E.P. also testified that during the math class, she showed the calculator to another student, B.G. B.G.testified that she was in math class with E.P. on 8 May 2006 and saw the words "Bomb at Lunch" on the calculator E.P. was using.
Ms. Hager testified she was a teacher at Swansboro Middle School, and that during her first period math class on 8 May 2006, E.P. asked to show Ms. Hager something on her calculator. Ms. Hager told E.P. to put the calculator away because the class was not going to use calculators. However, after the math class was over, Ms. Bolinger and E.P. came to Ms. Hager's class and showed Ms. Hager the calculator that E.P. had been using. Ms. Hager saw the words "Bomb at Lunch" displayed on the calculator and took the calculator to the office.
Ms. Hager testified that the calculators hung on a wall in her classroom and that each student was assigned to a calculator. Ms. Hager said that E.P. was assigned to calculator fourteen for first period, B.D.N. was assigned to calculator fourteen for second period, and another student, who had been absent the previous Friday, was assigned to the same calculator for third period. Ms. Hager further testified that the students had used the calculators to take a test on the previous Friday, 5 May 2006. Ms. Hager also testified that other students had used calculators to take a make- up test before first period on 8 May 2006, but she did not recall that any of those students used calculator fourteen.
Ms. Bolinger testified that E.P. came to Ms. Bolinger's second period class on 8 May 2006 and said she needed to show Ms. Bolinger something on a calculator. Ms. Bolinger went with E.P. to Ms. Hager's class and saw the words "Bomb at Lunch" on the calculatorthat E.P. showed her. Ms. Bolinger testified that she reported this to the office.
Christine Andrea (Ms. Andrea) testified that she was the principal of Swansboro Middle School on 8 May 2006. She was not on campus at the time of the incident, but she was notified by phone and returned to school. Ms. Andrea saw the words "Bomb at Lunch" on the calculator. She interviewed several students including E.P., B.D.N., and B.G. When no one stated that the calculator incident was a prank, Ms. Andrea evacuated the school.
C.J. testified she was a student at Swansboro Middle School. A few days after the bomb threat, she heard B.D.N. tell someone that B.D.N. "meant it all as a prank, and [B.D.N.] didn't think they'd take it actual [sic] seriously."
S.B. testified she was a student at Swansboro Middle School and that a day after the bomb threat, she heard B.D.N. tell another student, M.C., that "[t]he reason [B.D.N.] did the bomb threat was [be]cause [B.D.N.] thought it would be fun to get out of school." At the close of the evidence, B.D.N. moved to dismiss the petition, and the trial court denied the motion. The trial court adjudicated B.D.N. a delinquent juvenile on 22 August 2006 for violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-69.1(a). The trial court also entered a disposition order that, inter alia, placed B.D.N. on probation for twelve months. B.D.N. appeals.
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