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An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority.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: 17 April 2007
IN THE MATTER OF: Wake County
D.S.M. No. 06 JB 163
Appeal by juvenile from orders entered 9 May 2006 by Judge
Craig Croom in Wake County District Court. Heard in the Court of
Appeals 28 March 2007.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General
Meredith Jo Alcoke, for the State.
Cheshire, Parker, Schneider, Bryan & Vitale, by John Keating
Wiles, for juvenile-appellant.
D.S.M. (the juvenile) appeals from adjudication,
dispositional, and supplemental orders entered finding him to be
delinquent for misdemeanor possession of a weapon on school
property. We affirm.
On 12 December 2005, Wake County Sheriff's Department Deputy
James Lane (Deputy Lane) and Leesville Road Middle School
Principal Johnson opened the juvenile's locker and pulled out the
juvenile's book bag. Principal Johnson pulled a closed pocketknife
out of the juvenile's book bag and gave it to Deputy Lane. The
pocketknife was a [f]olding knife like a Swiss army knife with a
lot of gadgets and stuff with pliers and stuff like that. The
knife's blade was almost three inches long. On 8 March 2006, a juvenile delinquency petition was filed
against the juvenile for possession of a weapon on school campus or
property in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.2(d). On 13
March 2006, a juvenile delinquency petition was filed against the
juvenile for assault on a government employee in violation of N.C.
Gen. Stat. § 14-33(c)(4).
On 9 May 2006, the trial court adjudicated the juvenile to be
delinquent for possession of a weapon on school property. The
trial court found that the allegation of assault on a government
employee was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The trial court
entered a Level 1 disposition and ordered the juvenile to be placed
on probation for six months, to be confined on an intermittent
basis in an approved detention facility for five twenty-four hour
periods, imposed a curfew, perform twenty-four hours of community
service, not associate with specified persons or be in specified
places, and cooperate with a community-based program for six
months. The juvenile appeals.
The juvenile argues the trial court erred as a matter of law
when it found him responsible for possession of a weapon on school
property where the evidence showed he possessed a closed
III. Standard of Review
Questions of statutory construction are reviewed de novo.
Piedmont Triad Airport Auth. v. Urbine, 354 N.C. 336, 338, 554S.E.2d 331, 332 (2001), cert. denied, 535 U.S. 971, 152 L. Ed. 2d
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). A closed pocketknife is a weapon under N.C.
Gen. Stat. § 14-269.2(d). In re B.N.S., ___ N.C. App. ___, ___
S.E.2d ___ (6 March 2007) (No. COA06-588).
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, considering
the 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. 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).
The statute under which the juvenile was charged specifically
(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); N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269(b). [T]he
exemptions to N.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 childrenand the furtherance of education in this state. Haskins, 160 N.C.
App. at 354, 585 S.E.2d at 770.
The juvenile failed to show that any of the statutory
exemptions apply to the facts before us. The juvenile possessed a
pocketknife with a blade that was almost three inches long while
upon school property. 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.); see also In re B.N.S., ___ N.C. App. at ___, ___
S.E.2d at ___ (A closed pocketknife is a weapon under N.C. Gen.
Stat. § 14-269.2(d).).
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. The
trial court did not err in finding the juvenile to be delinquent
for possession of a weapon on school property. This assignment of
error is overruled.
The trial court properly found the juvenile to be delinquent
for possessing a weapon on school property. The trial court's
order is affirmed.
Judges HUNTER and JACKSON concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).
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