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An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority.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 Procedure.
NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS
Filed: 20 February 2007
IN THE MATTER OF:
R.M. Mecklenburg County
No. 03 J 1146
Appeal by juvenile from orders entered 20 January 2006 by
Judge Regan A. Miller in Mecklenburg County District Court. Heard
in the Court of Appeals 24 January 2007.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Special Deputy Attorney
General Gail E. Dawson, for the State.
Charlotte Gail Blake, for juvenile-appellant.
R.M. (the juvenile) appeals from adjudication and
dispositional orders entered finding him delinquent for: (1) armed
robbery; (2) second degree kidnapping; and (3) no operators
license. We affirm.
A. State's Evidence
On 8 October 2005 at approximately 7:30 a.m., Carlos Adalberto
Arguetta Andrade (the victim) drove his tan Toyota Sienna van to
work at Carocraft Cabinets in Charlotte, North Carolina. As the
victim drove into the parking lot, the juvenile approached his
vehicle, wearing a black jacket and hat. The juvenile pointed to
his wrist to ask for the time. The victim pointed to his wrist to
indicate he was not wearing a watch. The juvenile pointed a gun atthe victim and signaled for him to roll down the window. The
The juvenile opened the vehicle's door and demanded the victim
move over to the front passenger's seat. The victim complied. The
juvenile entered the driver's seat of the vehicle and demanded
money from the victim. The victim gave the juvenile approximately
$150.00 in cash. The juvenile drove the vehicle out of the parking
lot, while the victim sat in the passenger's seat. The juvenile
asked the victim whether he had any children. The victim replied
he had two daughters. The juvenile threatened to kill the victim
and his two daughters, if he called the police.
The juvenile drove the vehicle into a Big Lots parking lot and
waved the gun at the victim to exit the vehicle. The victim asked
for his house key. The juvenile gave the victim his house key and
one dollar for the bus fare. After the victim exited the vehicle,
the juvenile drove the vehicle out of the parking lot.
The victim asked two Big Lot's employees to call the police.
The victim provided a description of the juvenile and the van to
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers. Shortly thereafter, Officer
Richard Conn (Officer Conn) observed the van approaching him. As
Officer Conn made a u-turn to follow the van, the van sped away and
ran through several stop signs. Officer Conn lost sight of the van
momentarily, but Officer J.M. Helms (Officer Helms) observed the
van approaching her. Officer Helms briefly lost sight of the van,
but found it parked in the middle of the road with the keys in the
ignition. A witness reported to law enforcement officers she saw two
young black males jump out of the van and run across her neighbor's
yard toward nearby apartments. K-9 Officer Donald Dolinger
(Officer Dolinger) arrived with his dog, Zato, who picked up a
scent from the van. Zato tracked the scent through the witness's
neighbor's yard, between two apartment buildings, and stopped at
the end of the buildings. Officer Dolinger saw a woman standing in
the doorway of the apartment.
Officer Conn arrived on the scene and found the juvenile and
another young black male inside the woman's apartment. The
juvenile and the other male were detained in separate patrol cars.
Law enforcement officers searched the woman's apartment and did not
recover a gun from the apartment. The victim was brought to the
scene and positively identified the juvenile as the person who had
robbed and kidnapped him. The victim remained at the scene while
law enforcement officers searched his van. Law enforcement
officers returned the van to the victim, and he left the scene.
On 10 October 2005, a juvenile petition was filed that alleged
the juvenile to be delinquent because he had committed: (1) armed
robbery; (2) second degree kidnapping; (3) fleeing to elude; (4)
reckless driving; and (4) and driving with no operators license.
The State voluntarily dismissed the juvenile's charges for fleeing
to elude and reckless driving.
In addition to the testimony outlined above, the juvenile's
girlfriend testified that in late September or early October, the
juvenile visited her at her home. He arrived alone in a tan vanthat the girlfriend had never seen before. The juvenile and his
girlfriend sat in the van for a couple of minutes. The juvenile
gave her a gun and told her to keep it. Bullets were present in a
clip, but not in the gun's chamber. The juvenile's girlfriend kept
B. The Juvenile's Evidence
The juvenile testified at his adjudication hearing and stated
that on 8 October 2005, he learned from his friend, Michael McGriff
(McGriff), that the victim wanted to pawn his vehicle for
drugs. The juvenile testified that McGriff asked the victim
whether he wanted to trade the vehicle for drugs, and the victim
replied in the affirmative. McGriff and the juvenile made fake
drugs out of bread and gave the drugs to the victim. McGriff and
the juvenile dropped the victim off at the store. The juvenile
stated he and McGriff drove away in the vehicle and encountered law
enforcement officers ten minutes later.
The juvenile testified he and McGriff jumped out of the
vehicle and ran inside the juvenile's cousin's apartment. The
juvenile denied possession of a gun on 8 October 2005 or that he
pointed a gun at the victim.
On 20 January 2006, the trial court adjudicated the juvenile
to be delinquent on all remaining charges. The trial court entered
a Level 3 disposition and ordered the juvenile to be confined to a
youth development center for an indefinite period or until hisnineteenth birthday and that he not be placed in a wilderness camp.
The juvenile appeals.
The juvenile argues the trial court erred because it: (1)
allowed the State to amend the juvenile petition at the beginning
of the adjudication hearing and (2) failed to specifically advise
him of his constitutional rights prior to his testimony.
III. Amendment of Juvenile Petition
The juvenile argues the trial court should not have allowed
the State to amend the juvenile petition at the beginning of the
adjudication hearing. We disagree.
A. Standard of Review
The trial court's allowance of an amendment to a juvenile
petition rests within its sound discretion, if the petition
sufficiently alleged the offense charged and the amendment in no
way changed the nature of the offense. In re Jones, 11 N.C. App.
437, 438, 181 S.E.2d 162, 162, appeal dismissed, 279 N.C. 616, 184
S.E.2d 267 (1971).
Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2400 (2005), The court may permit
a petition to be amended when the amendment does not change the
nature of the offense alleged. If a motion to amend is allowed,
the juvenile shall be given a reasonable opportunity to prepare a
defense to the amended allegations.
Juvenile proceedings in this State are not criminal
prosecutions and a finding of delinquency in a juvenile proceedingis not synonymous with the conviction of a crime. Jones, 11 N.C.
App. at 438, 181 S.E.2d at 162. Nevertheless, a juvenile cited
under a petition to appear for an inquiry into his alleged
delinquency is entitled to the constitutional safeguards of due
process and fairness. Id. (citing In re Burrus, 275 N.C. 517, 169
S.E.2d 879, [aff'd, 403 U.S. 528, 29 L. Ed. 2d 647 (1969)]; In re
Alexander, 8 N.C. App. 517, 174 S.E.2d 664 [(1970)]). These
safeguards include notice of the charge or charges upon which the
petition is based. Id. (citing In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1, 18 L. Ed.
2d 527 (1967)). In Jones, this Court held that allowing an
amendment to the petition alleging larceny rested within the sound
discretion of the trial court when the amendment in no way changed
the nature of the offense but simply identified more specifically
the owner of the property allegedly stolen. 11 N.C. App. at 438,
181 S.E.2d at 162.
At the juvenile's adjudication hearing, the State moved to
amend the juvenile petition: (1) to add the word van to Toyota
Sienna; (2) to add the word all to indicate the total value of
the money and the van; (3) to add Arguetta to Carlos Adalberto
Andrade to reflect the victim's full name; (4) to add in
violation of GS 14-87, class D felony to GS 14-87; (5) to add
2nd degree kidnapping to and kidnap; (6) to add restraining
to the juvenile's kidnapping charge; (7) to add armed robbery in
violation of to GS 14-39; (8) to clarify a Class E felony
maximum commitment 19 [sic] months or until 19th birthday; (9) to
add The Juvenile is a delinquent as defined by GS 7B-1501(7) inthat on or about the date shown in the county named above the
juvenile unlawfully and willfully did to the description of the no
operators license charge; and (10) to add in violation of to GS
20-7(A) and a class 2 [sic] misdemeanor maximum commitment 60
days or 18th birthday. Defense counsel responded, I don't have
any objection, Your Honor. The State has already notified me on
some of these several days previously that she intended to make
The trial court properly granted the State's motion to amend.
The amendments did not change the nature of the offenses alleged.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2400. The juvenile had prior notice of the
amendments and admitted the State had informed him of some of
these amendments several days before the adjudication hearing.
The juvenile did not object to the amendments. The juvenile was
given a reasonable opportunity to prepare a defense or objection to
the amended allegations. This assignment of error is overruled.
IV. Prior Notice of Rights
The juvenile asserts the trial court failed to specifically
advise him of his constitutional right against self-incrimination.
The juvenile argues the trial court violated his constitutional
rights by failing to comply with N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2405 and In
re T.E.F., 359 N.C. 570, 614 S.E.2d 296 (2005). We disagree.
Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2405 (2005):
The adjudicatory hearing shall be a judicial
process designed to determine whether the
juvenile is undisciplined or delinquent. In
the adjudicatory hearing, the court shall
protect the following rights of the juvenileand the juvenile's parent, guardian, or
custodian to assure due process of law:
(1) The right to written notice of the facts
alleged in the petition;
(2) The right to counsel;
(3) The right to confront and cross-examine
(4) The privilege against self-incrimination;
(5) The right of discovery; and
(6) All rights afforded adult offenders except
the right to bail, the right of self-
representation, and the right of trial by
The juvenile asserts the trial court failed to protect his
privilege against self-incrimination and [a]ll his rights
afforded to adult offenders by failing to advise him specifically
prior to his testimony that he had the right to remain silent. The
juvenile argues our Supreme Court's holding in In re T.E.F.
applies, and the trial court's failure to comply with N.C. Gen.
Stat. § 7B-2407 is error. Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2407 (2005):
(a) The court may accept an admission from a
juvenile only after first addressing the
juvenile personally and:
(1) Informing the juvenile that the juvenile
has a right to remain silent and that any
statement the juvenile makes may be used
against the juvenile;
(2) Determining that the juvenile understands
the nature of the charge;
(3) Informing the juvenile that the juvenile
has a right to deny the allegations;
(4) Informing the juvenile that by the
juvenile's admissions the juvenile waives the
juvenile's right to be confronted by thewitnesses against the juvenile;
(5) Determining that the juvenile is satisfied
with the juvenile's representation; and
(6) Informing the juvenile of the most
restrictive disposition on the charge.
(b) By inquiring of the prosecutor, the
juvenile's attorney, and the juvenile
personally, the court shall determine whether
there were any prior discussions involving
admissions, whether the parties have entered
into any arrangement with respect to the
admissions and the terms thereof, and whether
any improper pressure was exerted. The court
may accept an admission from a juvenile only
after determining that the admission is a
product of informed choice.
(c) The court may accept an admission only
after determining that there is a factual
basis for the admission. This determination
may be based upon any of the following
information: a statement of the facts by the
prosecutor; a written statement of the
juvenile; sworn testimony which may include
reliable hearsay; or a statement of facts by
the juvenile's attorney.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2407 applies when admissions by juvenile
may be accepted. The acceptance of an admission by a juvenile is
tantamount to the acceptance of a guilty plea by an adult in a
criminal case. In re Johnson, 32 N.C. App. 492, 493, 232 S.E.2d
486, 487-88 (1977).
The juvenile did not proffer any admission to the offenses.
Instead, the juvenile testified and denied the offenses. Our
Supreme Court in In re T.E.F. held the safeguards under N.C. Gen.
Stat. § 7B-2407 protected a juvenile who admitted the offenses.
359 N.C. at 573, 614 S.E.2d at 296. Neither N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-
2407 nor In re T.E.F. applies to the facts before us. The juveniledid not admit and specifically denied the offenses. In the absence
of an admission, the trial court was not required to specifically
address the juvenile pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2407. The
juvenile failed to show that the trial court did not protect his
rights under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2405. This assignment of error
The juvenile failed to show the trial court abused its
discretion by allowing the State to amend the juvenile petition at
the beginning of the adjudicatory hearing or that the amendments
change[d] the nature of the offenses. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2400.
The juvenile's counsel admitted the State had informed him of the
changes and did not object.
The trial court was not required to specifically advise the
juvenile of his constitutional rights against self-incrimination
when the juvenile testified and denied the offenses. The trial
court's adjudication and dispositional orders are affirmed.
Judges STEPHENS and STROUD concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).
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