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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: The trial court modified a prior juvenile order to commit J.P., an 11-year-old boy, to the Texas Youth Commission. He appeals, arguing the trial court failed to make certain findings during modification that the statute expressly requires only in original commitment orders. This court granted the petition because of a conflict in the courts of appeals on this question. HOLDING: Affirmed. In other parts of the Family Code, the best interests of children are often paramount; but in the Juvenile Justice Code, the best interests of children who engage in serious and repeated delinquent conduct are superseded to the extent they conflict with public safety. Commitment to TYC by modification order is proper only if a juvenile originally committed a felony or multiple misdemeanors, and subsequently violated one or more conditions of probation. In such circumstances, the statute allows a trial court to decline third and fourth chances to a juvenile who has abused a second one. Here, the evidence at the modification hearing showed that J.P. assaulted detention center officers, created a flood by plugging his toilet, assaulted other residents, and on several occasions threatened to commit suicide. On the other hand, there was evidence the death of his father shortly after he entered the detention center contributed to the deterioration of his behavior, and a grandfather from New Hampshire indicated willingness to raise J.P. there. The trial judge’s comments indicate careful consideration of J.P.’s circumstances, of possible alternatives to commitment, and of potential dangers each option provided. Given J.P.’s original adjudication of delinquency for serious offenses (which he does not contest), the previous commitment to the Hood County Detention Center for further delinquent conduct (which he does not contest), and the many offenses at the Center (which he excuses but does not contest), the court holds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in modifying the previous disposition orders to commit J.P. to TYC. The plain language of the Juvenile Justice Code requires different findings in initial orders committing a juvenile to TYC than in modified orders that do so. Applying the statute as written compels neither arbitrary commitment nor meaningless review. OPINION: Brister, J., delivered the court’s opinion.

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