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In re P.Q.M.

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

February 18, 2014

In the Matter of P.Q.M.

Heard in the Court of Appeals 8 January 2014.

Page 432

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 433

Appeal by juvenile from order entered 7 March 2013 by Judge Ralph C. Gingles in Gaston County District Court.

Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Special Deputy Attorney General Gerald K. Robbins, for the State.

James N. Freeman, Jr., Elkin, for juvenile-appellant.

CALABRIA, Judge.

Juvenile P.Q.M. (" Paul" ) [1] appeals from a disposition order committing him to a youth development center (" YDC" ) of the North Carolina Division of Juvenile Justice for a minimum of six months and a maximum term not to exceed his eighteenth birthday. We affirm.

I. Background

Paul was adjudicated delinquent on 29 November 2012 in Cleveland County for robbery with a dangerous weapon (" RWDW" ), a Class D felony pursuant to N.C. Gen.Stat. § 14-87 (2011). On 5 January 2012, Paul was adjudicated delinquent for, inter alia, communicating threats pursuant to N.C. Gen.Stat. § 14-277.1 (2011), a Class 1 misdemeanor. On 3 December 2012, Paul was again adjudicated delinquent in Gaston County for, inter alia, larceny of a firearm, a Class H felony pursuant to N.C. Gen.Stat. § 14-72 (2011). The Cleveland County adjudication for RWDW was transferred to Gaston County and all of Paul's adjudications were calendared for disposition in Gaston County.

The disposition hearing on 4 March 2013 in Gaston County District Court included all three of Paul's adjudications. The trial court found three delinquency history points, a high delinquency level, that Paul had previously been adjudicated delinquent for two or more felony offenses, and that he had previously been committed to a YDC. Therefore, the trial court entered a Level 3 disposition. On 7 March 2013, the trial court entered an amended Level 3 disposition (" the amended order" ). In both the original and the amended order, the trial court found that Paul's most serious offense was RWDW. The amended order indicated that Paul had been adjudicated for a violent or serious offense pursuant to N.C. Gen.Stat. § 7B-2508 (2011). In the amended order, the trial court again found, pursuant to N.C. Gen.Stat. § 7B-2507(a) (2011), Paul had three delinquency history points: two for the larceny of a firearm offense, and one for the communicating threats offense. The trial court imposed a Level 3 disposition. However, the amended order added Paul's adjudication for communicating threats on 5 January 2012 and deleted Paul's 3 December 2012 Breaking and Entering (" B & E" ) offense.[2]

The trial court amended Paul's delinquency history level and found that Paul had a medium delinquency level rather than a high delinquency level. The trial court ordered Paul committed to a YDC for a minimum of six months and a maximum term not to exceed his eighteenth birthday. Paul appeals only the amended order. Paul's adjudications are undisputed.

II. Standard of Review

On appeal, this Court " will not disturb a trial court's ruling regarding a juvenile's disposition absent an abuse of discretion, which occurs when the trial court's ruling is so arbitrary that it ...


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