In re H.B., 051920 NCCA, COA19-624

Docket Nº:COA19-624
Opinion Judge:DIETZ, Judge
Party Name:IN THE MATTER OF: H.B.
Attorney:Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney General Melissa K. Walker, for the State. Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate Defender Wyatt Orsbon, for juvenile-appellant.
Judge Panel:Chief Judge McGEE and Judge YOUNG concur.
Case Date:May 19, 2020
Court:Court of Appeals of North Carolina
 
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IN THE MATTER OF: H.B.

No. COA19-624

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

May 19, 2020

An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Appeal by juvenile from orders entered 21 December 2018 by Judge Stephen A. Bibey in Moore County, No. 18 JB 26 District Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 7 January 2020.

Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney General Melissa K. Walker, for the State.

Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate Defender Wyatt Orsbon, for juvenile-appellant.

DIETZ, Judge

The juvenile-appellant, Hank, 1 appeals his adjudication on a sexual battery charge, arguing that the evidence against him was insufficient as a matter of law, and that the trial court committed prejudicial error by permitting him to testify at the adjudication hearing without ensuring that he understood his right against self-incrimination.

As explained below, Hank failed to preserve his challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence by timely asserting it in the trial court. But, even if Hank had preserved that argument, the trial court properly would have rejected it as meritless.

We also agree-as the State concedes-that the trial court erred by failing to engage in the required statutory colloquy with Hank concerning his right against self-incrimination. Because the State failed to show that this error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, we vacate the trial court's orders and remand this matter to the trial court.

Facts and Procedural History

In 2018, a group of teenagers were "hanging out" and smoking marijuana at the home of fifteen-year-old Hank. Among these teenagers was fifteen-year-old Amy.[2]Amy went inside the house to take a nap in Hank's bedroom. Hank also went to his bedroom and began to play a videogame. Some time later, when Hank and Amy were alone and Amy appeared to be asleep, Hank moved behind Amy, grabbed and squeezed her buttocks, took off his pants, and rubbed his penis against her. Amy testified that she "just laid there . . . because I was scared."

The State brought a juvenile delinquency proceeding alleging that Hank committed misdemeanor sexual battery. Hank testified in his own defense during the proceeding. At its...

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