X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:J.M.R. was removed from his middle school in December 2002 and was enrolled in an alternative school. As part of his enrollment, J.M.R. signed an agreement saying he would abide by the school’s policies procedures, and saying that he would not return to his former school. The agreement stated that if J.M.R. entered the premises of his old school, it could result in trespassing charges being filed. Two months later, J.M.R. was found at his former school and charged with criminal trespass under Penal Code 30.05. J.M.R. filed a plea to the jurisdiction, arguing the criminal trespass statute was in pari materia with the trespass-on-school-grounds statute. The trial court denied J.M.R.’s plea. During the ensuing bench trial, the state called the principal of J.M.R.’s former school. The state referred to her as “Gail,” despite the fact that the petition alleging delinquent conduct by J.M.R. referred to her as “Janet.” The trial granted the state leave to amend the petition, despite J.M.R.’s objection that the amendment was untimely. J.M.R. was found to have committed criminal trespass, was adjudicated delinquent and received six months’ probation. HOLDING:Affirmed. Statutes are in pari materia if they concern the same subject, relate to the same person or class of persons, or have the same object or purpose. The criminal trespass offense is a general property offense and is a Class B misdemeanor. Meanwhile Education Code 37.107 makes it a Class C misdemeanor to be on school grounds without authorization. Viewed together, the court finds that the statutes are not written to achieve the same objective. “The criminal trespass statute is designed to protect against a knowing, intentional, or reckless entry onto the property of another. Protection of property is at the heart of the statute. However, the trespass on school grounds statute is designed to ensure, protect, or provide for the safety of those legitimately on school grounds. Although protecting school buildings and grounds from vandalism and destruction is an important goal, it does not appear to be the legislative intent here.” The court concludes that the state could have prosecuted J.M.R. under either statute and the statutes are not in pari materia. The court rejects J.M.R.’s argument that the amendment to the petition was wrongly allowed, and that if the amendment hadn’t been allowed, there would have been insufficient evidence that J.M.R. entered the school property. The court agrees that a material variance in the petition will render the evidence insufficient, but the court finds the variance in this case was not material. Even with the misnaming of the principal, J.M.R. was sufficiently informed of the crime he was charged with, and his ability to defend himself was not impaired. OPINION:Smith, J.; Law, C.J., Smith and Pemberton, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.