Dangerous Possession of a Firearm by a Juvenile Overturned

Posted 1 month ago — Ooley Law Blog

A juvenile was adjudicated delinquent in Marion County for the offense of misdemeanor dangerous possession of a firearm. The juvenile appealed, and the Indiana Supreme Court held that juvenile court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate juvenile delinquent for committing the offense of dangerous possession of a firearm. Here is a summary of the court’s opinion:

Under Indiana law, only juvenile courts have power to adjudicate a child a delinquent. The delinquency alleged here is that respondent, K.C.G., age 16, committed the offense of dangerous possession of a firearm. We hold that the juvenile court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction. Juvenile courts have “exclusive original jurisdiction” to hear proceedings in which the State alleges that a child committed “an act that would be an offense”—a crime—“if committed by an adult.” Yet under the governing statute, an adult can never commit this offense. The statute defines the offense solely in terms of a “child” with an unauthorized firearm. Having previously granted transfer, we vacate K.C.G.’s delinquency adjudication and the modification of his probation based on that adjudication. And we remand with instructions to dismiss the State’s petition.

K.C.G. v. State, 156 N.E.3d 1281 (Ind. 2020)