County Criminal Court: CRIMINAL PROCEDURE - Jurisdiction - Failure of parent or guardian to sign demand for voluntary waiver of jurisdiction was not fatal to the motion where the defendant was over the age of 18 when the motion was made. Petition for writ of prohibition denied. Yerman v. State, No. CRC 06-79 APANO, (Fla. 6th Cir. App.Ct. January 31, 2007).

 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY

 

 

 

KYLE JOSEPH YERMAN

 

††††††††††† Petitioner,

 

v.                                                                                                                                           Appeal No. CRC 06-79 APANO

UCN52006AP00079XXXXCR

STATE OF FLORIDA

 

††††††††††† Respondent.

_____________________________/

 

 

Opinion filed ________________.

 

Petition for writ of prohibition

seeking review of a decision

of the Pinellas County Court

County Judge Edwin Jagger

 

Dwight Wolfe, Esq.

Assistant Public Defender

 

Christopher Ballard, Esq.

Assistant State Attorney

 

 

ORDER AND OPINION

 

 

††††††††††† THIS MATTER is before the Court on the petitioner, Kyle Yermanís, Petition for a Writ of Prohibition seeking review of a decision of the Pinellas County Court. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court denies the petition.

††††††††††† The petitioner was charged with committing several misdemeanor crimes when he was a juvenile. However, during the prosecution of his case, when the petitioner had turned 18, he -- along with his counsel -- signed and filed a Demand for Voluntary Waiver of Jurisdiction; asking to be treated as an adult. The Demand was granted, and the prosecution of the misdemeanors proceeded in the Pinellas County Court. A trial was held on the charges, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Well over a year after the petitionerís demand to be treated as an adult was granted, he obtained new counsel and then argued that the Pinellas County Court lacked jurisdiction to try his case. He claimed that because his Demand was not signed by his parent, guardian, or a guardian ad litem, then the Demand that he and his attorney signed was invalid. In support of his motion to dismiss, he cited ß985.226(1), Fla. Stat. (2004). That statute states:

The court shall transfer and certify a childís criminal case

for trial as an adult if the child is alleged to have committed

a violation of the law and, prior to the commencement of

an adjudicatory hearing, the child joined by a parent, or in

the absence of a parent, by the guardian or guardian ad litem,

demands in writing to be tried as an adult. Ö .

 

The trial court denied the petitionerís motion to dismiss, and the petitioner is seeking review of that decision. This Court agrees with the trial court.

The purpose of the statute is to ensure that a child charged with a crime does not involuntarily or unwisely waive the jurisdiction and protection of the juvenile statutes and elect to be treated as an adult defendant.Thus, the statute requires the written consent of a parent or guardian. When during the proceedings an individual turns 18 and becomes an adult, the statute is simply not applicable. At that point the individual is no longer a child and is free to make his or her own choice --- with or without a parentís or guardianís agreement. The trial court was correct to find the statute inapplicable under these circumstances.

††††††††††† IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Petition for Writ of Prohibition is denied.

††††††††††† DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida this _____ day of January, 2007.

 

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ____________________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† David A. Demers

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Circuit Judge

 

 

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ____________________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Raymond O. Gross

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Circuit Judge

†††††††††††††††††††††††

 

cc:††††††† State Attorney

 

††††††††††† Public Defender

 

††††††††††† Judge Jagger