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North Carolina v. T. D. R.

Teen Assault And Court Jurisdiction

In August of 1996 a 15-year-old juvenile, known as T. D. R., broke into a woman's home. He forced the woman into a bedroom where at knife point he sexually assaulted her. Before leaving, T. D. R. cut off the victim's hair and forced her into a closet. Upon apprehension, the state of North Carolina filed a juvenile petition alleging T. D. R. a delinquent as a result of committing first-degree rape and burglary.

In a district court hearing, T. D. R. waived his right to present evidence and agreed that probable cause did exist, that he in fact committed the crime. T. D. R. also requested a two-week continuance, a request for more time before the trial would begin, in order to undergo psychological evaluations. The evaluations could then be admitted as evidence concerning the issue of whether his case should be transferred to superior court for trial as an adult. The district court denied the continuance, and transferred jurisdiction, the power to hear and determine a case, over T. D. R. to superior court to try him as an adult on both charges in addition to first-degree kidnapping.

In February of 1997 the superior court determined that the district court denied T. D. R. "due process of law and fundamental fairness by its refusal to hear or consider the juvenile's evidence with regard to the appropriateness of retaining jurisdiction in the district court." The court ordered the indictments dismissed and sent the case back to the district court. The state of North Carolina appealed the decision.

In March of 1997, the appeals court overruled the February superior court decision and sent the case back to superior court with the indictments reinstated. The court of appeals ruled that district court orders transferring jurisdiction over a juvenile to superior court were subject to review by the court of appeals only after the final judgement of the superior court. While T. D. R. had not focused on the issue of jurisdiction in his appeal, the juvenile did claim he was denied due process after the district court had not granted the continuance he had originally requested. The Supreme Court of North Carolina agreed to hear the case.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1995 to PresentNorth Carolina v. T. D. R. - Significance, Teen Assault And Court Jurisdiction, When Juveniles Are Adults, Impact, Further Readings