State v. Favela

Decision Date17 February 1978
Docket NumberNo. 11822,11822
Citation91 N.M. 476,1978 NMSC 10,576 P.2d 282
PartiesSTATE of New Mexico, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ernestine FAVELA, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtNew Mexico Supreme Court
OPINION

PER CURIAM.

The defendant, a female adult, was indicted by the Grand Jury and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, contrary to § 40A-6-3, N.M.S.A. 1953 (Repl. 1972) by reason of sexual intercourse with a juvenile, a fifteen year old boy, who had allegedly consented to the act.

The trial court denied defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment and defendant took an interlocutory appeal to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals in a 2 to 1 decision reversed the trial court. This Court, on its own motion issued a writ of certiorari under authority of N.M. Const. art. 6, § 3. See State v. Gunzelman, 85 N.M. 295, 512 P.2d 55 (1973). We reverse the Court of Appeals and affirm the district court's denial of defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment and charge.

The majority opinion of the Court of Appeals erroneously held that § 13-14-3, N.M.S.A. 1953 (Children's Code Definitions) and § 40A-6-3, supra, which relates to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, must be construed together, and when so construed, a person cannot be found guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor by causing the minor to do an act for which the minor could not be found legally delinquent.

Section 13-14-3 is part of the Children's Code. It provides that a "child" is an individual who is less than 18 years of age. Subsection (N) of § 13-14-3, supra, reads:

"delinquent act" means an act committed by a child, which would be designated as a crime under the law if committed by an adult, . . . (Emphasis added.)

The Legislature of New Mexico made it abundantly clear that the Children's Code applied to juveniles and not to adults. The title of the Children's Code reads: "An act relating to children." The legislative purpose of the Children's Code is set forth in § 13-14-2, N.M.S.A. 1953 and the pertinent parts read:

The Children's Code (13-14-1 to 13-14-45) shall be interpreted and construed to effectuate the following expressed legislative purposes:

B. consistent with the protection of the public interest, to remove from children committing delinquent acts the consequences of criminal behavior and to substitute therefor a program of supervision, care and rehabilitation;

D. to separate clearly in the judicial and other processes affecting children under the Children's Code the neglected child, the child in need of supervision and the delinquent child, and to provide appropriate and distinct dispositional options for treatment and rehabilitation of these children; and

E. to provide judicial and other procedures through which the provisions of the Children's Code are executed and enforced and in which the parties are assured a fair hearing and their constitutional and other legal rights recognized and enforced. (Emphasis added.)

The Code is thus intended to protect children from the consequences of their own acts so long as it is "consistent with the protection of the public interest." It establishes a system of treatment, care and rehabilitation for children who have committed either "delinquent acts" or who are neglected or in need of supervision.

On the other hand, § 40A-6-3, supra, applies to adults and is designed to protect children from harmful adult conduct. It reads:

Contributing to delinquency of minor. Contributing to delinquency of minor consists of any person committing any act, or omitting the performance of any duty, which act or omission causes, or tends to cause or encourage the delinquency of any person under the age of eighteen (18) years.

Whoever commits contributing to delinquency of minor is guilty of a fourth degree felony.

The Court of Appeals ruled that the minor did not commit a "delinquent act" under the Code, since fornication is not an offense which if committed by an adult would be a crime. Section 13-14-3(N). Because the minor did not commit a delinquent act the Court of Appeals reasoned that the defendant could not be guilty of contributing to the delinquency of the minor. We do not agree. We hold that the two statutes are separate in purpose and application.

If the contributing to delinquency statute were applicable only to situations where the child...

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10 cases
  • State v. Trevino
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court
    • November 10, 1993
    ...have upheld findings that an unlawful sexual touching (or penetration) supported a conviction for CDM. See State v. Favela, 91 N.M. 476, 478, 576 P.2d 282, 284 (1978) (upholding conviction for CDM when adult female had consensual intercourse with fifteen-year-old boy), overruled on other gr......
  • State v. Perea, 20,382.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • November 13, 2000
    ...issue will be raised later, but then never is). Vagueness of CDM Statute {24} Defendant correctly points us to State v. Favela, 91 N.M. 476, 477-78, 576 P.2d 282, 283-84 (1978) (holding that a juvenile does not have to consume alcohol for the defendant to be found guilty of CDM), overruled ......
  • State v. Barrera, 25,347.
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court
    • April 19, 2001
    ...by a rebuttable presumption of inadmissibility. Defendant's argument is unsupported; it is also without merit. See State v. Favela, 91 N.M. 476, 477, 576 P.2d 282, 283 (1978) ("The Legislature of New Mexico made it abundantly clear that the Children's Code applied to juveniles and not to ad......
  • State v. Henderson
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • March 1, 1993
    ...a condom while exposing himself and blocking the victims' exit from his apartment. Like the Supreme Court in State v. Favela, 91 N.M. 476, 576 P.2d 282 (1978) (per curiam), overruled on other grounds by State v. Pitts, 103 N.M. 778, 714 P.2d 582 (1986), we cannot accept the hypothesis under......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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