Supreme Court of Kentucky.
Kenneth JOHNSON, Movant, v. COMMONWEALTH of Kentucky, Respondent.
Oct. 14, 1980.
Rehearing Denied Nov. 25, 1980.
ACTION: Reversed and remanded with instructions.


Defendant was convicted in the Circuit Court, Clay County, of first-degree burglary, and he appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, and the Supreme Court granted defendant's motion for discretionary review. The Supreme Court, Clayton, J., held that in light of fact that juvenile court obtained exclusive jurisdiction over case upon filing of juvenile petition two days before defendant's 18th birthday, and in light of fact that no transfer hearing had occurred and juvenile petition was still pending at time of indictment, circuit court never had jurisdiction to try matter.

CLAYTON, Justice.
The movant, Kenneth Johnson, was convicted of first-degree burglary in the Clay Circuit Court for which he received a sentence of ten years' imprisonment. The Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction and this court granted movant's motion for discretionary review. The sole question presented in this case is at what point does the exclusive jurisdiction of the district court attach in a juvenile proceeding.

Movant and his brother were suspects in the November 11, 1977, burglary of the home of one Melvin Arnett. At the time of the crime movant was seventeen years of age. On December 16, 1977, a juvenile petition was filed in the Clay District Court charging movant with the crime. Two days later he became eighteen. On January 12, 1978, movant received a summons from the juvenile court to appear for a hearing on the petition but for unknown reasons this hearing was never held. On January 30 Johnson was indicted by the grand jury for burglary. His initial trial ended in a hung jury, yet on May 15, 1978, Johnson was tried again and convicted of first-degree burglary. During both trials movant's counsel moved to quash the indictment on the grounds that the circuit court was without jurisdiction in light of the pending juvenile petition. The trial court overruled both motions.

The pertinent portion of KRS 208.020 provides:
(1) The juvenile session of the district court of each county shall have exclusive jurisdiction in proceedings concerning any child living, or found within the county who has not reached his eighteenth birthday:

The present statute, in effect, says that the juvenile court shall have exclusive jurisdiction in proceedings concerning any child who has not reached his eighteenth birthday .... This is indicative of the legislative intent to restrict proceedings in the juvenile court to persons who are proceeded against therein before becoming eighteen years of age. The conclusion is thus reached that, under the language of KRS 208.020, the juvenile court has exclusive jurisdiction only when the proceedings are instituted against a child who has not reached his eighteenth birthday.

The intent and purpose of the juvenile statutes is to provide certain safeguards for juveniles which would not be available to adult defendants. Once a juvenile court assumes jurisdiction of an alleged offense committed by a juvenile, the court must either adjudicate the matter or conduct a hearing and transfer the case to circuit court pursuant to KRS 208.170. This court remains committed to the rule that the pertinent statutes governing the control and disposition of felony charges against juveniles must be rigidly adhered to in order to enable the juvenile court or the circuit court, as the case may be, to obtain jurisdiction of the case.

In the instant case the juvenile court obtained exclusive jurisdiction over the case upon the filing of the juvenile petition two days before movant's eighteenth birthday. Since no transfer hearing occurred and the petition was still pending at the time of the indictment, the Clay Circuit Court never had jurisdiction to try this matter.

The case is therefore reversed and remanded with instructions to dismiss the indictment.

PALMORE, C. J., and AKER, CLAYTON, LUKOWSKY, STEPHENSON, and STERNBERG, JJ., sitting.

All concur.
Ky., 1980.
Johnson v. Com.
606 S.W.2d 622


     

Last Update Tuesday, 18-Dec-2012 01:34:51 EST

 County Coordinator
County Coordinator: Gayle Triller
Copyright © 2015 by the KYGenWeb Team. All
rights reserved. Copyright of submitted items
belongs to those responsible for their authorship or
creation unless otherwise assigned.