Justices vacate juvenile gun adjudication as double jeopardy

June 27, 2018

Indiana Supreme Court justices affirmed in part a Marion Superior Court decision on Monday that found a 16-year-old delinquent. Justices affirmed the teen’s dangerous possession of a firearm adjudication but vacated his adjudication for carrying a handgun without a license, as both the state and defense agreed it constituted double jeopardy.

In January 2017, J.R. was one of three individuals who fled the scene after a police officer witnessed them trying to break into a vehicle in a Family Dollar parking lot. Upon finding two of the suspects, a dispatched officer handcuffed J.R. when he attempted to avoid speaking to him. The officer then conducted a pat-down search of J.R., who argued his constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable searches were violated.

J.R. also argued his dual adjudications constituted double jeopardy when each is predicated on the same evidence of his possession of a single handgun, and the justices agreed.

The Indiana Court of Appeals previously also reversed J.R.’s carrying a handgun without a license adjudication, but on different grounds. The COA held a juvenile cannot be adjudicated for carrying a handgun without a license, because juveniles cannot by law obtain such licenses.

The Supreme Court found that J.R.’s rights were not violated during the pat-down search after an oral argument was held for J.R. v. State of Indiana, 18S-JV-285.

“We summarily affirm the parts of the Court of Appeals’ original opinion that address and reject J.R.’s challenge to the pat-down search, including the sections entitled “Facts” and “I. Search and Seizure,” the justices wrote in a unanimous three-page opinion Monday.

“As the parties agree on disposition of the double jeopardy issue, we remand to the juvenile court to vacate the delinquency adjudication for CHWOL, and we affirm the delinquency adjudication for dangerous possession of a firearm.”




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