IN THE INTEREST OF J. M. A., A CHILD.
BARNES, P. J., RICKMAN and SELF, JJ.
Barnes, Presiding Judge.
A. appeals from the juvenile court's judgment
adjudicating him delinquent for violating the conditions of
his probation. J. M. A. contends that the juvenile court
erred in denying his motion to dismiss the State's
delinquency petition for lack of jurisdiction, and he
challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support the
court's adjudication of delinquency. For the reasons
discussed below, we affirm.
reviewing a delinquency adjudication, we construe the record
in the light most favorable to the juvenile court's
ruling. In the Interest of J. W., 309 Ga.App. 470,
470-471 (711 S.E.2d 48) (2011). So construed, the record
shows that on July 18, 2014, 13-year-old J. M. A. was
adjudicated delinquent in the Juvenile Court of DeKalb County
for criminal attempt to commit burglary and was placed on
probation for one year. The specific conditions of J. M.
A.'s probation included that he perform 40 hours of
community service during his probationary term and pay an
initial probation supervision fee of $75 by September 18,
16, 2015, the State filed a complaint in the juvenile court,
alleging that J. M. A. had committed the delinquent act of
violating his probation by failing to complete his community
service hours or pay the full supervision fee. The complaint
cited to OCGA § 15-11-2 (19) (B) (2014),  which defines a
"delinquent act" to include "[t]he act of
disobeying the terms of supervision contained in a court
order which has been directed to a child who has been
adjudicated to have committed a delinquent act." The
State subsequently filed a delinquency petition against J. M.
A. that contained the same allegations as the complaint and
again cited to OCGA § 15-11-2 (19) (B) as the basis for
October 2015, J. M. A. filed a motion to dismiss the
delinquency petition. According to J. M. A., the July 18,
2014 probation order upon which the delinquency petition was
predicated had expired one year after he had been placed on
probation, and there was no statutory or common law basis for
tolling his probationary sentence. J. M. A. argued that once
the probation order expired, the juvenile court lost
jurisdiction to continue to hear any claims brought by the
State that he had violated the conditions of his probation.
Hence, J. M. A. maintained, the State's delinquency
petition ought to be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
juvenile court denied J. M. A.'s motion to dismiss,
concluding that J. M. A.'s jurisdictional argument was
misplaced because the State had not filed a motion to revoke
J. M. A.'s probation, as it could have done under OCGA
§ 15-11-608 (b). Rather, the juvenile court emphasized,
the State had filed a new petition alleging the delinquent
act of a violation of probation under OCGA § 15-11-2
(19) (B). Because the State had filed a petition alleging the
commission of a new delinquent act rather than sought a
revocation of probation, the juvenile court concluded that
the question whether the original probationary sentence had
expired or been tolled was immaterial. Consequently, the
juvenile court ruled that it had jurisdiction to continue to
hear the delinquency case, even though the initial term of J.
M. A.'s probation had ended.
the denial of the motion to dismiss, the juvenile court
conducted an adjudicatory hearing in January 2016 on the
delinquency charge that J. M. A. had violated the specific
conditions of his probation by failing to complete his
community service or pay the full supervision fee. Two
witnesses testified at the hearing, J. M. A.'s probation
officer and his mother. J. M. A. elected not to testify in
his own defense.
A.'s probation officer testified that J. M. A. had only
completed 36 of his 40 hours of community service and had an
outstanding balance of $55 on his supervision fee when the
State initiated the present delinquency proceedings in July
2015. The officer testified that J. M. A. had completed his
community service hours by the time of the adjudicatory
hearing in January 2016 but still owed the remainder of the
supervision fee. The officer further testified that she had
sought to work with J. M. A. and his family because of their
financial and transportation problems so that J. M. A. could
complete the conditions of his probation. In this regard, the
officer testified that she allowed J. M. A. great flexibility
in choosing where to perform his community service, assisted
him in finding a place to perform his community service, and
set up a payment plan for the supervision fee with individual
payments as low as $7.
A.'s mother also testified at the hearing. She conceded
that J. M. A. had not completed his community service hours
until December 2015, several months outside of the one-year
probationary term, and still owed $55 of the $75 supervision
fee. However, J. M. A.'s mother testified that J. M. A.
had been unable to work after April 2015 because he had
severely injured his foot, requiring surgery and a period of
restricted activity. J. M. A.'s mother further testified
that before the injury occurred in April 2015, she did not
have a car to transport J. M. A. and no money to provide him
with bus fare because she was unemployed, and that no
businesses would hire him because of his age.
J. M. A.'s mother conceded that there had been no
physical reason J. M. A. could not do some type of work
before his foot injury in April 2015, and that there were
many restaurants and other local businesses in the immediate
area of the apartment where they lived. She further testified
that J. M. A. had not made any efforts of which she was aware
to find any type of work, and she had personally only asked
one restaurant about the possibility of hiring him. J. M.
A.'s mother also admitted that J. M. A. received $725 a
month in Supplemental Security Income ("SSI")
benefits from Social Security.
conclusion of the hearing, J. M. A.'s counsel conceded
that J. M. A. had not timely performed all of his community
service hours and had not paid the full supervision fee, but
he argued that the State had presented insufficient evidence
that the probation violations had been willful. The juvenile
court disagreed, stating at the hearing that J. M. A. could
have looked for odd jobs like "washing cars" or
"sweeping up hair at a barber shop" and there was
no evidence that he ever made such efforts. The juvenile
court thereafter entered an order adjudicating J. M. A.
delinquent for violating his probation, finding "that
the allegations of the petition are true, that the acts
ascribed to said child were, in fact, committed by said
child, and that such acts constitute acts of delinquency . .
. within the meaning of the law."
juvenile court released J. M. A. to the custody of his
mother. Following a dispositional hearing, the juvenile court
placed J. M. A. on probation for 6 months and included as
special conditions of his probation that he perform 20
additional hours of community service and pay a supervision
fee of $55. This appeal by J. M. A. followed.
M. A. first contends that the juvenile court erred in denying
his motion to dismiss the delinquency petition for lack of
jurisdiction. According to J. M. A., the juvenile court no
longer had jurisdiction to adjudicate his alleged violations
of probation once his original one-year probationary term
ended in July 2015 because there was no statutory or common
law basis for tolling the probationary period. We are
unpersuaded under the circumstances of this case, where the
State filed a new delinquency petition under OCGA §