August 18, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Juvenile Petition Dismissed Where Acts Charged Occurred when Offender Under 10 Years Old

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of P.K. on August 27, 2015.

Juvenile—Aggravated Incest—Subject Matter Jurisdiction—Age.

In 2011, when P.K. was 11 years old, he was charged with three counts of aggravated incest against his younger brother. P.K. was between 8 and 11 years old at the time of the alleged offenses. P.K. offered an admission to a single charge of aggravated incest. The juvenile court accepted P.K.’s admission and sentenced him to two years of supervised probation. After a second petition to revoke probation was filed against P.K., his counsel asserted that the juvenile court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to have taken P.K.’s admission and imposed a sentence because he was under 10 years old for over half of the charging period. The juvenile court denied his motion to withdraw his admission. P.K. appealed.

In assessing the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, the relevant inquiry is the age at which the alleged acts were committed, not the age at which a disposition was imposed. Here, the prosecution charged multiple dates within a range, some of which occurred when P.K. was under 10 years old. Because the juvenile court only has jurisdiction over children 10 years of age and older, the juvenile court was without jurisdiction to accept P.K.’s admission because the charging document was fatally defective by including dates in which P.K. was under the age of 10. The order was reversed and the case was remanded with directions to the juvenile court to dismiss the delinquency petition without prejudice.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

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