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Supreme Court to hear case of juvenile who threatened school

December 4, 2017

After a divided panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals partially reversed a delinquent adjudication against a high school student who made violent threats against his school and classmates, the Indiana Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the student’s adjudications should stand in part or in whole.

The justices granted transfer last week to the case of B.E. v. State of Indiana, 36S05-1711-JV-711, which began when Seymour High School students B.E. and M.V. began planning an attack on their school, specifically targeted toward one student. The students exchanged Facebook messages about their plans, which included discussions about making pipe bombs. B.E. also drew a diagram of one of his classrooms and marked his target’s seat.

B.E. and M.V. also discussed their plans with other students, which is how the high school faculty learned of the threats. After calling the police and having B.E. interviewed by a Seymour Police Department detective, the student was arrested and adjudicated a delinquent for conspiracy to commit aggravated battery and attempted aggravated battery. Meanwhile, M.V. was adjudicated as a delinquent only for conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, and that adjudication was upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals nearly one year ago.

But in an August opinion, a majority of the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the adjudication for attempted aggravated battery, finding there was insufficient evidence B.E. had taken a “substantial step” toward attempted aggravated battery. But Judge Cale Bradford dissented from the majority, writing “the record contains sufficient evidence to sustain a finding that B.T.E. took a substantial step toward committing aggravated battery.”

However, a unanimous court upheld the trial court’s decision to deny B.E.’s motion to dismiss, which he had challenged on the basis of not receiving a hearing in a timely manner.

The high court unanimously agreed to take B.E.’s case, though oral argument has not yet been scheduled.

The justices unanimously denied transfer to 12 other cases last week. The full list of transfer decisions can be viewed here.

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