in the Court of Appeals 21 August 2017.
by juvenile-defendant from order entered 10 August 2016 by
Judge Deborah Brown in Alexander County No. 15JB31 District
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney
General Janelle E. Varley, for the State.
Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate
Defender Amanda S. Zimmer, for the defendant-appellant
I.W.P. ("Roy"),  appeals from the trial court's
order adjudicating him delinquent. Roy contends the trial
court erred by (1) denying his motion to dismiss; (2) failing
to make proper findings of fact in the adjudication order;
(3) failing to make proper findings of fact in the
dispositional order; (4) violating N.C. Gen. Stat. §
7B-2501(c); and (5) ordering the chief court counselor to
direct him to complete community service. We dismiss in part,
affirm in part, and remand in part.
and Procedural Background
8, 2016, a group of students at East Alexander Middle School
decided to pull a fire alarm on the last day of school. Roy
encouraged W.S. ("Wilson") several times to pull
the fire alarm, which Wilson eventually did that afternoon.
After the alarm sounded, Roy, Wilson, and other students ran
away. According to the School Resource Officer, activation of
the fire alarm resulted in "total chaos, " causing
children to be pushed and stepped on while attempting to exit
the building. The officer swore out juvenile petitions
against Roy and Wilson for disorderly conduct.
August 10, 2016, an adjudication hearing was held in
Alexander County District Court. Wilson testified that Roy
and another student asked him four different times during at
least two classes to pull the fire alarm. Around noon, Wilson
pulled the fire alarm.
close of State's evidence, Roy made a motion to dismiss
the charge based upon insufficiency of the evidence. The
trial court denied his motion to dismiss. Roy decided to put
on evidence and testified in his own defense, denying that he
encouraged or forced Wilson to pull the fire alarm. Roy did
not renew his motion to dismiss at the close of all of the
who was already on juvenile probation, was adjudicated
delinquent by the trial court. At disposition, the trial
court continued Roy's prior probationary period, and
entered a new dispositional order directing him to complete
counseling; follow the counselor's recommendations;
comply with a curfew set by his parents or counselor; not
associate with anyone or be in any place deemed inappropriate
by his parents or counselor; not violate any laws or rules at
home; attend school on a regular basis; not possess any
controlled substances, alcoholic beverages, or weapons;
submit to random drug testing; and perform fifty hours of
community service. The trial court also ordered a new
probationary period for twelve months from August 10, 2016.
The trial court also entered a specific dispositional
provision that Roy not associate, assault, harass, or
threaten Wilson because of a threat Roy had made. Roy entered
notice of appeal in open court.
contends the trial court erred at the adjudication hearing by
failing to grant his motion to dismiss at the close of the
State's case-in-chief, and by failing to make sufficient
findings of fact to prove he committed disorderly conduct. We
Sufficiency of the Evidence
denying a motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence, the
"court must determine whether there is substantial
evidence (1) of each essential element of the offense
charged, and (2) of the juvenile being the perpetrator of
such offense." In re K.C., 226 N.C.App. 452,
456, 742 S.E.2d 239, 242 (2013) (citation, quotation marks,
brackets, and ellipses omitted). " 'The evidence
must be such that, when it is viewed in the light most
favorable to the State, it is sufficient to raise more than a
suspicion or possibility of the respondent's guilt.'
" Id. (quoting In re Walker, 83
N.C.App. 46, 48, 348 S.E.2d 823, 824 (1986)). "If the
evidence raises merely suspicion or conjecture as to either
the commission of the offense or the identity of the juvenile
as the perpetrator of it, the motion should be allowed."
In re R.D.L., 191 N.C.App. 526, 530-31, 664 S.E.2d
71, 73-74 (2008) (citation, internal quotation marks, and
defendant must properly preserve issues at trial to permit
appellate review. For this court to review purported errors
from a trial court's denial of a motion to dismiss for
insufficiency of the evidence in criminal cases, a motion to
dismiss must be made either at the close of the State's
case, or at the close of all of the evidence. N.C. R. App. P.
If a defendant makes such a motion after the State has
presented all its evidence and has rested its case and that
motion is denied and the defendant then introduces evidence,
defendant's motion for dismissal or judgment in case of
nonsuit made at the close of State's evidence is waived.
Such a waiver precludes the defendant from urging the denial
of such motion as a ground for appeal.
A defendant may make a motion to dismiss the action, or for
judgment as in case of nonsuit, at the conclusion of all the
evidence, irrespective of whether defendant made an earlier
such motion. If the motion at the close of all the evidence
is denied, the defendant may urge as ground for appeal the
denial of the motion made at the conclusion of all the
evidence. However, if a defendant fails to move to dismiss
the action, or for judgment as in case of nonsuit, at the
close of all the evidence, defendant may not challenge on
appeal the sufficiency of the evidence to prove the crime
Id. After putting on evidence, a "defendant may
preserve [his] argument for appeal only by renewing the
motion at the close of all evidence." In re
Hodge, 153 N.C.App. 102, 107, 568 S.E.2d 878, 881,
appeal dismissed and disc. review denied, 356 N.C.
613, 574 S.E.2d 681 (2002).
the trial court denied Roy's motion to dismiss at the
close of the State's evidence, finding the State had
presented sufficient evidence of disorderly conduct based on
the testimony of the School Resource Officer and another
student. Roy then presented evidence, but failed to renew his
motion to dismiss at the close of all evidence. Thus, Roy
failed to preserve this issue for appeal. See N.C.
R. App. P. 10(a)(3). Roy concedes that his trial counsel did
not renew the motion to dismiss at the close of all the
evidence, and he has waived appellate review of this
assignment of error.
does, however, request this Court to suspend appellate rules
and review his argument pursuant to Rule 2. This Court can
hear issues not properly preserved pursuant to Rule 2 in
order "[t]o prevent manifest injustice to a party . . .
upon application of a party or upon its own initiative, and
may order proceedings in accordance with its
directions." N.C. R. App. P. 2 (2017). "The Supreme
Court and this Court have regularly invoked [Rule 2] in order
to address challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence to
support a conviction." State v. Gayton-Barbosa,
197 N.C.App. 129, 134, 676 S.E.2d 586, 590 (2009) (citation
omitted). However, Rule 2 "should only be invoked rarely
and in exceptional circumstances." Id. at 134,
676 S.E.2d at 589 (citation and internal quotation marks
omitted); see also Dogwood Dev. & Mgmt. Co., LLC v.
White Oak Transp. Co., 362 N.C. 191, 196, 657 S.E.2d
361, 364 (2008). Further, "precedent cannot create an
automatic right to review via Rule 2. Instead, whether an
appellant has demonstrated that his matter is the rare case
meriting suspension of our appellate rules is always a
discretionary determination to be made on a case-by-case
basis." State v. Campbell, 369 N.C. 599, 603,
799 S.E.2d 600, 603 (2017).
our Supreme Court stated invoking Rule 2 "must
necessarily be made in light of the specific
circumstances of individual cases and parties, such as
whether substantial rights of an appellant are
affected." Id. at 603, 799 S.E.2d at 602
(citation and quotation marks omitted); see also State v.
Sanders, 312 N.C. 318, 320, 321 S.E.2d 836, 837 (1984);
State v. Hart, 361 N.C. 309, 316, 644 S.E.2d 201,
205 (2007) ("Rule 2 'expresses an obvious residual
power possessed by any authoritative rule-making body to
suspend or vary operation of its published rules in specific
cases where this is necessary to accomplish a fundamental
purpose of the rules.' "(quoting N.C. R. App.
P. 2 drafting comm. comment. (1975)).
the State's evidence tended to show Roy encouraged Wilson
to pull the fire alarm several times throughout the school
day resulting in chaos on school grounds which endangered
students. Roy's actions "[d]isrupt[ed], disturb[ed]
[and] interfere[d] with the teaching of students . . . [and]
disturb[ed] the peace, order or discipline" at the
middle school. N.C. Gen. Stat. § ...