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In re D.D.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

December 14, 2017

IN RE: D.D. A MINOR CHILD[Appeal by the State of Ohio]

         Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division Case No. DL 16107471

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Frank Romeo Zeleznikar Assistant County Prosecutor

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Mark A. Stanton Cuyahoga County Public Defender John T. Martin Assistant Public Defender

          BEFORE: McCormack, P.J., Boyle, J., and Celebrezze, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          TIM McCORMACK, P.J.

         {¶1} The state of Ohio appeals the juvenile court's sua sponte dismissal of its complaint against appellee D.D. For the following reasons, we reverse the juvenile court's dismissal and remand for lack of a final verdict.

         Procedural and Substantive History

         {¶2} Beyond the allegations listed in the complaint, the record in this case prior to dismissal includes no mention of the underlying substantive facts. After the juvenile court dismissed the complaint with prejudice, the court questioned D.D. on the record about the incident. The following facts are a summary of D.D.'s recollection.

         {¶3} On November 4, 2015, D.D. had an altercation with another girl who had been bullying her. The two girls physically fought near their school, and D.D.'s nose was fractured in the fight. Immediately after this initial incident, D.D. followed the girl to a nearby location, where she resumed fighting with the girl and threw a chair at her. D.D. was asked to leave and initially refused to do so.

         {¶4} On August 16, 2016, a complaint based on the November 4, 2015 events was filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, alleging D.D. to be a delinquent child. The complaint alleged the following counts: (1) felonious assault, a felony of the second degree; (2) criminal activity on school property, a misdemeanor of the first degree; (3) inducing panic, a misdemeanor of the first degree; and (4) criminal trespass, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

         {¶5} Each count of the complaint listed the name and numerical designation of the alleged offense, the date of the alleged offense, the street address of the alleged offense, and the name and address of D.D.'s mother. Additionally, each count was sworn to under oath.

         {¶6} An arraignment was held on September 19, 2016. A reading of the complaint was waived, and D.D. denied the allegations of the complaint by a plea entered through her counsel.

         {¶7} After holding pretrial hearings on October 31 and December 12, 2016, an adjudicatory hearing was held on February 27, 2017. At this hearing, the prosecutor made an oral motion to amend the complaint to reflect a plea agreement reached between D.D. and the state. Pursuant to this agreement, D.D. would enter an admission to Count 1, amended to aggravated assault, and Count 4. In exchange for those admissions, the state would nolle Counts 2 and 3. The court granted this motion to amend the complaint.

         {¶8} After ensuring that D.D. understood the rights she was waiving by entering these admissions, the court accepted the admissions in accordance with Juv.R. 29(D).

         {¶9} The court then noted a defect in the complaint, and the prosecutor made an oral motion to amend the complaint to include "Cleveland, Ohio, 44111" to be the location of the offenses. The court denied this motion, stated that it lacked jurisdiction, and dismissed the case with prejudice.

         {¶10} The court's journal entry stated, in relevant part:

Upon due consideration, the court finds that the allegations of the complaint have not been proven beyond a reasonable ...

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