lawskills
Loading
Did you know you can download our entire database for free?


Resources
[more] 

Georgia Caselaw:
Browse
Greatest Hits

Georgia Code: Browse

(external) Findlaw Georgia Law Resources


This site exists because of donors like you.

Thanks!


Lawskills.com Georgia Caselaw
IN THE INTEREST OF C. A., a child.
A01A0120.
SMITH, Presiding Judge.
Delinquency. Spalding Juvenile Court. Before Judge Cook.
After a hearing, a juvenile court adjudicated delinquent thirteen-year-old C. A., upon its finding that the juvenile committed acts which, if committed by an adult, would have constituted two counts of terroristic threats and acts, two counts of pointing a gun or pistol at another, and one count of aggravated assault. 1 On appeal, C. A. challenges the sufficiency of the evidence. Because the adjudication of delinquency was predicated at least in part on an unauthorized finding, we reverse.
When a juvenile is charged with offenses that would constitute crimes if committed by an adult, the standard of proof in the lower court is " 'beyond a reasonable doubt. [Cit.]' " In the Interest of E. D. F, 243 Ga. App. 68 (1) (532 SE2d 424) (2000). Any conflicts in the evidence are resolved by the trier of fact, which in this case was the juvenile court judge. Id. On appeal, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the findings and judgment of the juvenile court. Id.
The evidence presented at the hearing showed that at approximately 10:00 p.m. on July 17, 2000, B. M., D. P., and S. P., all minors, were riding bicycles from B. M.'s house to D. P.'s house. B. M. testified that C. A., who had been threatening to beat up D. R., rode his bicycle toward them, telling D. P. to "come here you stupid motherf----." D. P. did not go to C. A. but "took off" home. B. M. stated that C. A. continued calling for D. P., saying, "I got something waiting on you." C. A. next approached B. M. and S. P. and said, "if anybody else messes with my girlfriend, I got something for them," then pulled a gun from his pocket.
A deputy who investigated the incident testified that C. A. told him that he had given the gun to a friend, and the deputy did retrieve the gun from that friend's house. The deputy identified the gun as a .177-caliber BB gun that was capable of "hurting, injuring or perhaps even causing death if it hits somebody in the right place.
1. C. A. contends that the evidence is insufficient to show that he committed the acts constituting two counts of terroristic threats as against D. P. and B. M. He argues that there is a lack of corroborative evidence of the testimony of B. M. This contention is without merit.
Only "[s]light corroboration of the circumstances during which a terroristic threat is uttered is all that is necessary to satisfy OCGA 16-11-37 (a)'s requirement that the victim's account of the terroristic threat be corroborated. [Cit.]" In the Interest of C. S. G., 241 Ga. App. 37, 38 (1) (525 SE2d 106) (1999). "[I]f there is any evidence of corroboration, this Court will not second-guess the factfinder and pass on the corroborating evidence's probative value. [Cit.]" Id.
A person makes a terroristic threat when he threatens to commit any crime of violence with the purpose of terrorizing another person. OCGA 16-11-37 (a). Displaying a handgun to another under threatening circumstances may constitute a terroristic threat if committed by an adult. In the Interest of C. S. G., supra.
In this case, D. P. testified that on the evening of the incident, he saw that C. A. had a gun as C. A. approached, saying, "come here you motherf----." Moreover, C. A. admitted telling B. M., "if anybody messed with [his] girlfriend, [he] had something for them," and admitted displaying the gun. B. M.'s testimony that C. A. issued terroristic threats to D. P. and to him therefore was sufficiently corroborated by the testimony of the deputy, D. P., and C. A. The evidence was sufficient to enable a rational trier of fact to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that C. A. committed acts which, if committed by an adult, would have constituted the offenses of two counts of terroristic threats and acts.
2. C. A. contends that the evidence is insufficient to show that he committed acts which, if committed by an adult, would constitute two counts of pointing a gun or pistol at another as to B. M. and D. P. A person commits the offense of pointing a gun at another when he intentionally and without legal justification points a gun or pistol at another. OCGA 16-11-102. C. A. claims that he only showed the gun without pointing it at anyone.
Evidence was presented showing that C. A. pointed the gun at B. M., who testified that although he could not see very well that late night, "it looked like [C. A.] was holding it towards me and 'Little [S].' " As to D. P., however, although the State asserts in its appellate brief that "Little [S]" is a "street name for D. P.," the record clearly shows that "Little [S]" is D. P.'s younger brother, S. P. The State also points out that the deputy testified without objection that D. P. and B. M. told him during his investigation of the incident that C. A. had pointed the gun at both of them. But even in the absence of an objection, such hearsay evidence has no probative value and establishes no fact unless it falls within an exception to the hearsay rule, Day v. State, 235 Ga. App. 771, 772 (2) (510 SE2d 579) (1998). The State has shown no applicable exception. We note that the prior inconsistent statement exception is unavailable because the State failed to lay a proper foundation during the hearing. See Hamilton v. State, 238 Ga. App. 320, 321 (2) (517 SE2d 118) (1999); Duckworth v. State, 223 Ga. App. 250, 253-254 (2) (474 SE2d 336) (1996). Moreover, at the hearing, D. P. stated that C. A. had not pointed the gun at him. The State failed to show competent evidence to support a finding that C. A. pointed a gun at D. P., although the evidence was sufficient to enable a rational trier of fact to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that C. A. committed acts which, if committed by an adult, would have constituted the offense of one count of pointing a gun at another, B. M.
We have already determined, supra, that there is evidence that C. A. did point the gun at B. M., who testified that when C. A. pointed the gun at him, he was "real scared." B. M. testified that the gun to him, "looked like a .45," and the gun was also introduced into evidence at trial. There was sufficient evidence that the gun reasonably appeared to B. M. to be a deadly weapon. The evidence was sufficient to enable a rational trier of fact to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that C. A. committed acts which, if committed by an adult, would have constituted the offense of one count of aggravated assault.
We conclude that there is an absence of competent proof on the charge that C. A. pointed a gun at D. P. (see Division 2, supra). Because the adjudication of delinquency was predicated at least in part on that unauthorized finding, it must be reversed. The case is remanded for the trial court to adjudge whether C. A. is delinquent based on all of the authorized findings. See In the Interest of J. H. M., 202 Ga. App. 79, 81 (413 SE2d 515) (1991).
William T. McBroom III, District Attorney, James E. Sherrill, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.
Notes
1  The juvenile court also found that C. A. was ungovernable and had violated his probation, but C. A. does not appeal those findings.
Sullivan & Sturdivant, Harold A. Sturdivant, Michele W. Ogletree, for appellant.
DECIDED APRIL 19, 2001.
Thursday May 21 01:22 EDT


This site exists because of donors like you.

Thanks!


Valid HTML 4.0!

Valid CSS!





Home - Tour - Disclaimer - Privacy - Contact Us
Copyright © 2000,2002,2004 Lawskills.com