The Appellate Group

In re JEG

In re JEG, 2020 UT App 94 (Orme, J.)

Juvenile Delinquency

The State charged the young defendant with two counts of sexual abuse of a child, alleging that the defendant touched another child’s genitals twice. At trial, the defendant presented evidence that cast significant doubt on the dates when the child alleged the touching occurred. After the close of evidence, the State moved to amend the delinquency petition to broaden the date range, and the juvenile court granted that motion and allowed the defendant additional time to present evidence. Eventually, the juvenile court found the defendant delinquent. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • The juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the State to amend the petition after the close of evidence; the court provided the defendant with additional time to present evidence, and the defendant could not demonstrate that this course of action was insufficient to cure the prejudice resulting from the amendment.
  • Assuming that double jeopardy protections apply in juvenile cases, the defendant’s double jeopardy rights were not violated because the juvenile court had not reached a final decision in this case when the court allowed the State to amend the petition.
  • Even though the State had difficulty establishing the time and date of the offenses, the State presented sufficient evidence from which the juvenile court could find that the defendant committed the offenses.

Read the full court opinion