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In re D. H.

Court of Appeals of Georgia

April 28, 2015

In the Interest of D. H., a child

Delinquency. Lamar Juvenile Court. Before Judge Sullivan.

Clare L. Nolan, for appellant.

Richard G. Milam, District Attorney, Anita R. Reynolds, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

ELLINGTON, Presiding Judge. Dillard and McFadden, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 71

Ellington, Presiding Judge.

In 2012, the Juvenile Court of Lamar County adjudicated 13-year-old D. H. delinquent after finding that he committed acts which, if committed by an adult, would have constituted aggravated child molestation, OCGA § 16-6-4, a Class A designated felony act.[1] The juvenile court ordered that D. H. be placed on probation for twenty-four months, with the first six months to be served on house arrest. In 2013, the juvenile court again adjudicated D. H. delinquent, after finding that he violated the terms of his probation. On July 9, 2013, the juvenile court ordered that D. H. be " committed to the custody of

Page 72

the Department of Juvenile Justice for an initial ... period of 5 years," [332 Ga.App. 275] that he " initially be confined in Youth Development Center for a period of 60 months, after which period [he] shall be placed under the intensive supervision for a period of 60 months." [2]

Over a year later, on July 29, 2014, D. H. filed a motion for various kinds of relief from the commitment order. The State filed a motion to dismiss the motion, and the juvenile court granted the motion to dismiss D. H.'s motion. D. H. appeals, and, for the reasons explained below, we affirm.

1. In D. H.'s motion, he moved for modification of the July 9, 2013 commitment order, averring that, while he was in restrictive custody, he had been repeatedly bullied and seriously injured and that he feared further maltreatment by other juveniles at the facility. He argued that these repeated injuries " do not seem to constitute the kind of rehabilitation set forth in the Commitment Order dated July 9th, 2013[,]" and warranted a modification of the commitment order.

In addition, D. H. argued that newly discovered evidence cast doubt on the underlying delinquency adjudication which was based on allegations that D. H. committed an alleged act of aggravated child molestation on June 7, 2012. D. H. averred that the fourteen-year-old victim had made very similar complaints against two other alleged perpetrators within the space of three years of her outcry concerning D. H. Based on this " newly discovered evidence," he argued that the adjudications of delinquency be set aside pursuant to OCGA § 15-11-32 (2014).

In its motion to dismiss D. H.'s motion, the State argued that D. H., who has been transferred to Department of Juvenile Justice custody, was not authorized to file a motion for modification pursuant to OCGA § 15-11-32 (2014). Furthermore, the State argues, OCGA § 15-11-602 (2014) " precisely addresses defendant's issue of release, modification, or termination and is the controlling statute that applies." The order granting the State's motion to dismiss did not explain the basis for the ruling.

OCGA § § 15-11-32 (2014) and 15-11-602 (2014) are part of Georgia's new Juvenile Code, OCGA § 15-11-1 et seq. (2014). This ...


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