In re Interest of J. H., A19A2166

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
Writing for the CourtMCFADDEN
PartiesIN THE INTEREST OF J. H., a child.
Decision Date09 March 2020
Docket NumberA19A2166

IN THE INTEREST OF J. H., a child.


Court of Appeals of Georgia

March 9, 2020




NOTICE: Motions for reconsideration must be physically received in our clerk's office within ten days of the date of decision to be deemed timely filed.

MCFADDEN, Chief Judge.

The juvenile court adjudicated J. H. delinquent for two acts which, if committed by an adult, would have constituted aggravated assault. See OCGA § 16-5-21 (a) (2). The juvenile court specifically found that by charging two people with a butcher knife, J. H. attempted to commit a violent injury and placed those people in reasonable apprehension of receiving a violent injury. J. H. appeals following the denial of his motion for new trial, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support his adjudication of delinquency because the state failed to prove that the knife constituted a deadly weapon or that he placed either person in reasonable apprehension of receiving a violent injury. Because the evidence authorized the juvenile court's adjudication of delinquency, we affirm.

1. Facts.

"On appeal of an adjudication of delinquency, the appellate court determines whether after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the acts charged beyond a reasonable doubt." In the Interest of L. J., 337 Ga. App. 653, 653 (788 SE2d 531) (2016). "The evidence is considered under the standard of Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U. S. 307 (99 SCt 2781, 61 LE2d 560) (1979), with all reasonable inferences construed in favor of the juvenile court's findings." In the Interest of T. W., 280 Ga. App. 693, 693 (634 SE2d 854) (2006).

So viewed, the evidence shows that J. H. and his older sister were involved in an argument at their home which escalated to the point of J. H. pushing and shoving her. The sister's boyfriend intervened in order to separate the two. J. H. said that he was going to beat up his sister, threw her belongings on the floor, and kicked a hole in her bedroom door while trying to kick it in. J. H.'s sister and her boyfriend decided to leave the home because they wanted to get away from the situation and because the boyfriend needed to go to the bank. However, as they were leaving and getting in their vehicle, J. H. came outside, discovered that his sister had thrown his shoes outside, and confronted them. J. H. ran up to the passenger side door, yelled at his sister, who was in the passenger seat, and tried to hit her with a shoe; she rolled the door's window up, which had been partially down, and J. H. banged on the window. The boyfriend grabbed J. H. from behind, pulled him away from the door despite his resistance, and told him to relax; the two then exchanged heated words.

J. H. went back into the home, but then came back outside carrying a butcher knife. At that time, his sister was still in the car passenger seat, but her boyfriend was standing outside. With the knife in his hand, J. H. charged at them. In response to seeing J. H. and being warned by J. H.'s mother to watch out, the boyfriend quickly jumped in the vehicle and drove away. J. H. chased after the vehicle and threw the knife at it as it was pulling off, hitting the driver's side door.

2. The evidence supports the juvenile court's finding that the butcher knife in J. H.'s hand constituted a deadly weapon.

J. H. argues that there was insufficient evidence presented for the juvenile court to determine that the knife in his hand constituted a deadly weapon. J. H. asserts that: the knife was not tendered into evidence; J. H. did not threaten anyone while holding the knife; and his act of throwing the knife at a moving vehicle, which his sister and her boyfriend were safely inside of, caused no injuries.

OCGA § 16-5-21 (a) (2) provides: "A person commits the offense of aggravated assault when he or she assaults . . . [w]ith a deadly weapon or with any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury[.]"

Under the Code, aggravated assault has two essential elements: (1) an attempt to commit a violent injury, or an act that places another in reasonable apprehension thereof, and (2) that the assault was aggravated by either (a) an intention to murder, rape or rob, or (b) the use of a deadly weapon or an object that likely could or actually did result in serious bodily injury.

Watson v. State, 301 Ga. App. 824, 825 (689 SE2d 104) (2009) (citation and punctuation omitted); see also In the Interest of L. J., 337 Ga. App. at 655 (1) n. 4 ("[A]ggravated assault is shown by proof of certain aggravating circumstances and an assault. Simple assault is shown by either proof that the defendant attempted to injure someone, OCGA § 16-5-20 (a) (1), or that the victim was in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury. OCGA § 16-5-20 (a) (2).").

The juvenile court, as the factfinder, was authorized to find that the butcher knife in J. H.'s hand constituted a deadly weapon. In Sexton v. State, 189 Ga. App. 331, 332 (3) (375 SE2d 661) (1988), this court held that whether a pocketknife, which the defendant swung at store employees while backing out of the store, constituted a deadly weapon was properly for the jury's determination. See also In the Interest of T. W., 280...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT