Appellate court rules teen’s pending cases should be in adult court

A teenager convicted on robbery charges as an adult who is also charged with theft and burglary charges as a juvenile will continue in adult court after the Indiana Court of Appeals found Tuesday that the juvenile court must waive its jurisdiction.

In State of Indiana v. C.K., 49A02-1607-JV-1506, 15-year-old C.K. was involved in two crimes that would have constituted felony burglary, felony theft and felony robbery if committed by an adult. Although he was not identified at the time of the crime in either case, he did leave fingerprints behind.

Then, when C.K. was 16, he was arrested and charged with two counts of felony robbery related to a new crime, and the fingerprints taken at the time of his arrest in that case connected him to the two previous cases.  The first two cases were referred to juvenile court and the Marion Superior Court placed C.K. on juvenile hold.

After C.K. was convicted in adult court for the third crime, the state requested a waiver of the cases related to the first two crimes to criminal court. The juvenile court denied that motion, but the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed in a Tuesday opinion.

Senior Judge John Sharpnack, writing for the unanimous appellate panel, wrote that under the plain language of Indiana Code 31-30-3-6 (1997) – which requires a juvenile court to waive its jurisdiction if the child “has previously been conviction of a felony or a nontraffic misdemeanor” – does not place limits on when the prior felony or nontraffic misdemeanor conviction must have occurred to activate the statute.

“C.K. has already been charged and convicted as an adult in (the third crime), and little would be gained by having his current cases continue in the juvenile justice system simply because there was a delay in the discovery of the allegedly incriminating evidence,” Sharpnack wrote. “C.K. has been placed on probation in (the third case), and ongoing monitoring by the juvenile courts would be unnecessarily duplicative.”

The case was remanded with instructions to grant the state’s petition for waiver of jurisdiction.

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