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State v. Anthony L.

Court of Appeals of New Mexico

September 26, 2018

STATE OF NEW MEXICO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
ANTHONY L., Child-Appellant.

          APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT OF BERNALILLO COUNTY William E. Parnall, District Judge

          Hector H. Balderas, Attorney General Maha Khoury, Assistant Attorney General Santa Fe, NM for Appellee

          Bennett J. Baur, Chief Public Defender J.K. Theodosia Johnson, Assistant Appellate Defender Santa Fe, NM for Appellant



         {¶1} Child appeals the district court's order granting the State's motion for extension to commence Child's adjudication and his commission of the delinquent act of driving without a valid driver's license. Child contends that: (1) the district court erred by extending the time to commence Child's adjudication; and (2) there was insufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict that he committed the delinquent act of driving without a valid driver's license. We affirm.


         {¶2} On September 6, 2016, a delinquency petition was filed alleging that on September 3, 2016, Child had committed the delinquent acts of: (1) leaving the scene of an accident (property damage), contrary to NMSA 1978, Section 66-7-202 (1978); (2) driving without a valid driver's license, contrary to NMSA 1978, Section 66-5-2 (2013); and (3) tampering with evidence (third or fourth degree felony), contrary to NMSA 1978, Section 30-22-5 (2003). Child was arrested and held in detention until September 7, 2016, when he was conditionally released to New Day Shelter. Child was arrested on October 7, 2016, for violating his conditions of release and held in detention. On October 12, 2016, a notice was issued setting a pretrial conference for October 31, 2016.

         {¶3} On the day of the pretrial conference, the State filed a motion to extend the time limit for the adjudicatory hearing in which it noted that: the matter had been set for an adjudicatory hearing on October 31, 2016; the time limit to commence the adjudicatory hearing was November 7, 2016; and a continuance was necessary in anticipation of a pending community service agency (CSA) assessment and identification of a possible out-of-home placement for Child. At the hearing, Child's attorney opposed the motion, although the district court had stated at the last hearing it would grant an extension and set the adjudication for December. The State noted that the motion was opposed, but left the certification date for providing opposing counsel with a copy of the motion blank. Also on the same date, the district court's order of continuance of the pretrial conference was filed and reset for November 21, 2016. Opposition to the motion by Child's attorney was noted on that order. The district court order granted the State's motion for extension extending the date to commence the adjudication to December 13, 2016, and a notice of jury trial was issued.

         {¶4} On November 3, 2016, a hearing was held before a special master to address conditions of release and placement options for Child. Child's counsel informed the special master that Open Skies, a CSA, had assessed Child on October 26, 2016, and Amistad Shelter had informed her the day before that they had an opening. Child's counsel also suggested that Child did not need to stay in detention waiting for the Open Skies assessment; however, the Child remained in detention.

         {¶5} On November 21, 2016, Child was conditionally released to Amistad Shelter. On November 23, 2016, Child filed an objection to the extension and request for reconsideration, reversal and dismissal. At a hearing on December 12, 2016, the district court stated that the good cause for extending the time line was because of the district court's busy docket.

         {¶6} After a jury trial, Child was found to have committed the delinquent acts of leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a valid driver's license. A mistrial was declared on the delinquent act of tampering with evidence. The judgment and disposition, for an extended consent decree, was filed on January 23, 2017. Child was placed on probation, under an extended consent decree, for a period not to exceed one year, or through January 22, 2018.[1]

         District Court Did Not Abuse Its Discretion in Granting an Extension to Commence Child's Adjudication.

         {¶7} The granting of a continuance rests within the sound discretion of the district court. In re Doe, 1975-NMCA-108, ¶ 8, 88 N.M. 347, 540 P.2d 827. The standard of review for a motion to continue is abuse of discretion. Id. An abuse of discretion occurs when the ruling is "clearly untenable or not justified by reason." State v. Candelaria, 2008-NMCA-120, ¶ 12, 144 N.M. 797, 192 P.3d 792 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). There is no abuse of discretion when there are reasons that both support and detract from a trial court's decision. State v. Moreland, 2008-NMSC-031, ¶ 9, 144 N.M. 192, 185 P.3d 363. Our review looks at the evidence and its inference in the light most favorable to the district court's decision. Candelaria, 2008-NMCA-120, ¶ 12.

         {¶8} Appellate courts review interpretations of our Supreme Court rules de novo, State v. Stephen F,2006-NMSC-030, ¶ 7, 140 N.M. 24, 139 P.3d 184, as well as "the district court's application of the law to the facts of [the] case." State v. Foster,2003-NMCA-099, ¶ 6, 134 N.M. 224, 75 P.3d 824. Appellate courts apply the same rules of construction to procedural rules adopted by our Supreme Court as it does to statutes. Walker v. Walton,2003-NMSC-014, ¶ 8, 133 N.M. 766, 70 P.3d 756. We therefore "look first to the plain meaning of the rule" and "refrain from further interpretation when the language is clear and unambiguous." State v. Gutierrez,2006-NMCA-090, ¶ 7, 140 N.M. 157, 140 P.3d 1106 (alteration, internal quotation marks, and citation ...

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