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160457 - In re T.J. Diehl, Minor

​​In re T. J. Diehl, Minor

___________________________

 

The People of the State of Michigan,

 

Jeffrey Kaelin

 

Plaintiff-Appellant,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

(Oakland – Valentine, V.)

 

T. J. Diehl,

 

Hugh Marshall

 

Defendant-Appellee.

 

Summary

A referee authorized three juvenile delinquency petitions against the 12-year-old respondent in a span of several months.  In Petition #1, the respondent pled no contest to domestic violence against his adoptive mother.  The family court accepted the plea and placed the respondent on probation.  In Petitions #2 and #3, the respondent offered no contest pleas to domestic assault and larceny in a building.  The family court did not accept either of those pleas and instead took both matters under advisement.  Over the prosecution’s objection, the family court ultimately “unauthorized” Petitions #2 and #3 and removed them from the adjudicative process.  The family court reasoned that it would not serve the best interests of the respondent or the public to add more adjudications to the respondent’s juvenile record when no additional services could be provided beyond what was ordered with respect to Petition #1.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the family court in a published opinion.  The Supreme Court has ordered oral argument on the application to address:  (1) whether the Juvenile Code, MCL 712A.1 et seq., allows a family court to revoke its previous authorization of a juvenile delinquency petition over the objection of the prosecution; (2) whether MCL 780.786b provides family courts with the independent authority to remove an already authorized delinquency matter from the adjudicative process without the prosecution’s consent; (3) whether the family court’s decision to “unauthorize” two delinquency petitions encroached on the prosecution’s charging authority in violation of the Separation of Powers Clause, Const 1963, art 3, § 2; and (4) to the extent that the family court erred, whether that error was harmless, MCR 3.902(A); MCR 2.613.​