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In re A'Reeyon L.

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

January 30, 2018


          Session October 18, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Hamilton County No. 299908 Tom Greenholtz, Judge

         This appeal arises out of a delinquency proceeding in Hamilton County Juvenile Court ("juvenile court"). The juvenile was accused of violating his probation by failing to report to his probation officer as required by the rules of his probation. Following a hearing and ruling by the juvenile court, the matter was appealed to the Hamilton County Criminal Court ("trial court"). Upon a bench trial and de novo review, the trial court found that the juvenile had violated his probation by failing to report to his probation officer. The trial court subsequently ordered that the juvenile be committed to the custody of the Department of Children's Services ("DCS") pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 37-1-131(a)(4). Discerning no error, we affirm.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed; Case Remanded

          David C. Veazey, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, A'reeyon L.

          Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter, and Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Thomas R. Frierson, II, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which D. Michael Swiney, C.J., and John W. McClarty, J., joined.



         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         On March 28, 2016, A'reeyon L. ("the Juvenile") pled guilty in the juvenile court to charges of violating aftercare, being an unruly child, and truancy. The juvenile court dismissed a charge of aggravated assault at that time. The matter was scheduled for a subsequent dispositional hearing to occur on May 25, 2016. Prior to the dispositional hearing, the Juvenile accrued new charges. On April 25, 2016, the Juvenile pled guilty to additional charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and evading arrest. The juvenile court scheduled a cumulative dispositional hearing to address all delinquency charges to which the Juvenile had pled guilty. It is undisputed that the juvenile court placed the Juvenile on probation through the Serious Habitual Offender Community Action Program ("SHOCAP") on August 31, 2016, based on the delinquency adjudications.[1] The record contains no indication that the Juvenile appealed the dispositional hearing order placing him on probation.

         On September 8, 2016, Teneka Arnette, the Juvenile's probation officer, reported to the juvenile court that the Juvenile had violated the conditions of his probation. Following a hearing, the juvenile court determined that the Juvenile had violated his probation. Consequently, the juvenile court entered an order on September 21, 2016, committing the Juvenile to the custody of DCS. The Juvenile subsequently appealed the ruling of the juvenile court to the trial court. The trial court conducted a de novo bench trial on January 11, 2017.

         During the trial, Ms. Arnette testified to the purpose and requirements of the SHOCAP probation program. According to Ms. Arnette, SHOCAP probation is a more intensive form of probation designed for juveniles who have serious charges or are habitual offenders. At the time of the hearing, the program had only been in place for approximately seven or eight months. Ms. Arnette explained that SHOCAP is designed so that the juvenile probationer will "cooperate and work with [his or her] probation officer to develop the self-discipline necessary to remain out of trouble in the future and work to resolve the personal problems which may have contributed to [him or her] being placed on probation."

         In addition to several other requirements, SHOCAP required the Juvenile to remain on house arrest for a period of thirty to forty-five days, during which he could only travel to and from his home and his school or place of employment. The period of house-arrest could have been extended depending on the Juvenile's compliance with the program. According to Ms. Arnette, during the house-arrest phase, the Juvenile was to remain within his home with parental supervision and maintain contact with the probation officer, "calling in for a minimum of twice a day." During these telephone calls, his parent was required to verify the Juvenile's compliance with the house arrest requirement. The Juvenile was also required to visit the probation officer's office twice per month, accompanied by his parent. Ms. Arnette explained that following the juvenile's compliance with the house-arrest phase, later stages of the program would have been comprised of relaxed rules, including later curfews and less frequent reporting requirements.

         Ms. Arnette testified that the Juvenile began SHOCAP on August 31, 2016, and was in the house-arrest phase of the program when he violated his probation. When meeting with the Juvenile and his mother after court on August 31, 2016, Ms. Arnette and another probation officer explained the rules of the probation program. Both the mother and the Juvenile signed a copy of the conditions of SHOCAP, including a detailed description of the reporting requirements. According to Ms. Arnette, the Juvenile called her to "check-in" on the day of court when they returned ...

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