2021 Georgia Code
Title 15 - Courts
Chapter 11 - Juvenile Code
Article 6 - Delinquency
Part 12 - Disposition
§ 15-11-602. Disposition of Class a or Class B Designated Felony Act

Universal Citation: GA Code § 15-11-602 (2021)
  1. When a child is adjudicated to have committed a class A designated felony act or class B designated felony act, the order of disposition shall be made within 20 days of the conclusion of the disposition hearing. The court may make one of the following orders of disposition best suited to provide for the rehabilitation of such child and the protection of the community:
    1. Any order authorized by Code Section 15-11-601, if the court finds that placement in restrictive custody is not required; or
    2. An order placing such child in restrictive custody.
  2. Every order shall include a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence, of whether such child requires placement in restrictive custody. If placement in restrictive custody is ordered for a child classified as low risk, the court shall make a specific written finding as to why placement in restrictive custody is necessary. In determining whether placement in restrictive custody is required, the court shall consider and make specific written findings of fact as to each of the following factors:
    1. The age and maturity of such child;
    2. The needs and best interests of such child;
    3. The record, background, and risk level of such child as calculated by a risk assessment, including, but not limited to, information disclosed in the probation investigation, diagnostic assessment, school records, and dependency records;
    4. The nature and circumstances of the offense, including whether any injury involved was inflicted by such child or another participant, the culpability of such child or another participant in planning and carrying out the offense, and the existence of any aggravating or mitigating factors;
    5. The need for protection of the community;
    6. The age and physical condition of the victim;
    7. If the act was trafficking of substances in violation of Code Section 16-13-31 or 16-13-31.1, whether the circumstances involved sale, delivery, or manufacture of the substances, and if such circumstances were not involved, the court shall dispose of the act as a class B designated felony act; and
    8. If the act was aggravated child molestation and subject to the provisions of paragraph (2) of subsection (d) of Code Section 16-6-4, the court shall adjudicate the act as a delinquent act and impose a disposition in accordance with Code Section 15-11-601.
  3. An order for a child adjudicated for a class A designated felony act placing such child in restrictive custody shall provide that:
    1. Such child shall be placed in DJJ custody for an initial period of up to 60 months;
    2. Such child shall be confined for a period set by the order in a secure residential facility, except as provided in subsection (e) of this Code section. All time spent in a secure residential facility or nonsecure residential facility shall be counted toward the confinement period set by the order;
    3. After a period of confinement set by the court, such child shall be placed under intensive supervision not to exceed 12 months;
    4. Such child shall not be released from intensive supervision unless by court order; and
    5. All home visits shall be carefully arranged and monitored by DJJ personnel while such child is placed in a secure residential facility or nonsecure residential facility.
  4. An order for a child adjudicated for a class B designated felony act placing such child in restrictive custody shall provide that:
    1. Such child shall be placed in DJJ custody for an initial period of up to 36 months; provided, however, that not more than 18 months of such custodial period shall be spent in restrictive custody;
    2. Except as provided in subsection (e) of this Code section, if such child is classified as moderate risk or high risk, he or she shall be confined for a period set by the order in a secure residential facility for half of the period of restrictive custody and the other half of the period of restrictive custody may, at the discretion of DJJ, be spent in a nonsecure residential facility. All time spent in a secure residential facility or nonsecure residential facility shall be counted toward the confinement period set by the order;
    3. Except as provided in subsection (e) of this Code section, if such child is classified as low risk, he or she shall be confined for a period set by the order in a nonsecure residential facility. All time spent in a secure residential facility or nonsecure residential facility shall be counted toward the confinement period set by the order;
    4. Such child shall be placed under intensive supervision not to exceed six months either after a period of confinement set by the court or as an initial period of supervision;
    5. Such child shall not be released from intensive supervision unless by court order; and
    6. All home visits shall be carefully arranged and monitored by DJJ personnel while a child is placed in a secure residential facility or nonsecure residential facility.
    1. Any child who is ordered to be confined in restrictive custody who is diagnosed with a developmental disability and is not amenable to treatment in a secure residential facility may be transferred by DJJ to a nonsecure residential facility determined to be appropriate for such child by DJJ, provided that the court and prosecuting attorney are notified of such change of placement.
    2. Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this Code section, the court shall order placement in restrictive custody in any case where the child is found to have committed a class A designated felony act or class B designated felony act in which such child inflicted serious physical injury upon another person who is 72 years of age or older.
  5. During a child's placement order or any extension of the placement in restrictive custody:
    1. While in a secure residential facility or nonsecure residential facility, such child shall be permitted to participate in all services and programs and shall be eligible to receive special medical and treatment services, regardless of the time of confinement in such facility. A child adjudicated to have committed a class A designated felony act or class B designated felony act may be eligible to participate in programs sponsored by such facility, including community work programs and sheltered workshops under the general supervision of DJJ staff outside of such facility. In cooperation and coordination with the DJJ, such child shall be allowed to participate in state sponsored programs for evaluation and services under the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities;
      1. A child adjudicated to have committed a class A designated felony act or class B designated felony act shall not be discharged from placement in a secure residential facility or nonsecure residential facility prior to the period of time provided in the court's order except as provided in paragraph (1) of subsection (e) of this Code section or when a motion to be discharged from placement in a secure residential facility or nonsecure residential facility is granted by the court. After a court order denying a motion to discharge a child from placement in a secure residential facility or nonsecure residential facility, a subsequent such motion shall not be filed until at least six months have elapsed. Notwithstanding Code Section 15-11-32, DJJ or any party may file a motion with the court seeking a child's release from placement in a secure residential facility or nonsecure residential facility, an order modifying the court's order requiring placement in a secure residential facility or nonsecure residential facility, or termination of an order of disposition for a child committed for a class A designated felony act or class B designated felony act.
      2. All motions filed under this paragraph shall be accompanied by a written recommendation for release, modification, or termination from a child's DJJ counselor or placement supervisor, filed in the court that committed such child to DJJ, and served on the prosecuting attorney for such jurisdiction.
      3. At least 14 days prior to the date of the hearing on the motion, the moving party shall serve a copy of the motion, by first-class mail, upon the victim of the class A designated felony act or class B designated felony act, if any, at the victim's last known address, the child's attorney, if any, the child's parents or guardian, and the law enforcement agency that investigated the class A designated felony act or class B designated felony act. In addition to the parties to the motion, the prosecuting attorney and the victim, if any, shall have a right to be heard and to present evidence to the court relative to any motion filed pursuant to this paragraph.
      4. A court hearing a motion filed under this paragraph shall determine the disposition of a child based upon a preponderance of the evidence. In determining whether a motion for release from custody, modification of placement in a secure residential facility or nonsecure residential facility, or termination of an order of disposition should be granted or denied due to changed circumstances, the court shall be required to find whether or not such child has been rehabilitated and shall consider and make specific findings of fact as to each of the following factors:
        1. The needs and best interests of such child;
        2. The record and background of such child, including the disciplinary history of such child during the period of placement in a secure residential facility or nonsecure residential facility and subsequent offense history;
        3. The academic progress of such child during the period of placement in a secure residential facility or nonsecure residential facility, including, if he or she is receiving services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a review of his or her Individualized Education Program (IEP) and such child's progress toward IEP goals;
        4. The victim's impact statement submitted for purposes of a hearing conducted pursuant to this paragraph;
        5. The safety risk to the community if such child is released; and
        6. Such child's acknowledgment to the court and victim, if any, of his or her conduct being the cause of harm to others; and
    2. Unless otherwise specified in the order, DJJ shall report in writing to the court not less than once every six months during the placement on the status, adjustment, and progress of such child.
  6. Notwithstanding the initial periods of placement in restrictive custody ordered by the court pursuant to subsection (c) or (d) of this Code section, the period of placement may be extended on motion by DJJ, after a disposition hearing, for two additional periods not to exceed 12 months each, provided that no placement or extension of custody may continue beyond a child's twenty-first birthday.
  7. The court shall identify the school last attended by a child adjudicated for a class A designated felony act or class B designated felony act and the school which such child intends to attend and shall transmit a copy of the adjudication to the principals of both schools within 30 days of the adjudication. Such information shall be subject to notification, distribution, and other requirements as provided in Code Section 20-2-671.

(Code 1981, §15-11-602, enacted by Ga. L. 2013, p. 294, § 1-1/HB 242; Ga. L. 2014, p. 780, § 1-44/SB 364.)

Cross references.

- Time limitations upon orders of disposition - termination of order, Uniform Rules for the Juvenile Courts of Georgia, Rule 15.4.

U.S. Code.

- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, referred to in this Code section, is codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.

Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, referred to in this Code section, is codified at 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq.

Law reviews.

- For annual survey on criminal law, see 66 Mercer L. Rev. 37 (2014).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

ANALYSIS

  • General Consideration
  • Identified Felonies
  • Evidentiary Issues
  • Restrictive Custody

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions under former Code 1933, §§ 24A-2301A and 24A-2302A, and pre-2000 Code Section 15-11-37, which were subsequently repealed but were succeeded by provisions in this Code section, are included in the annotations for this Code section. See the Editor's notes at the beginning of the chapter.

Purpose.

- Former Code section was enacted to ensure that certain juveniles who commit serious acts ("designated felonies") are, upon judicial determination, placed in restrictive custody and that the option of the Division of Youth Services to release a juvenile so placed would be somewhat limited. 1980 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 80-160 (decided under former Code 1933, §§ 24A-2301A and 24A-2302A).

Participation in community work program violated spirit of former section.

- General Assembly intended that juveniles committed to the Division of Youth Services under a restrictive custody dispositional order should be held in secure facilities and should not be allowed to come in contact with the general public. Participation by designated felons in community work programs was at least a violation of the spirit, if not the interpretive letter, of the former statute. 1980 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 80-160 (decided under former Code 1933, §§ 24A-2301A and 24A-2302A).

Statutory rape and the combined offenses of statutory rape and criminal trespass may not be considered designated felony acts under paragraph (a)(2) of former O.C.G.A. § 15-11-37 (see now O.C.G.A. §§ 15-11-2 and15-11-602). 1983 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 83-17 (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 15-11-37).

Designated felony act.

- Unless a juvenile had been adjudicated a delinquent in prior court appearances for acts of burglary, a multiple count petition was not sufficient to fall within former subparagraph (a)(2)(D) of former O.C.G.A. § 15-11-37 (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-11-63). 1983 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U83-10 (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 15-11-37).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 47 Am. Jur. 2d, Juvenile Courts and Delinquent and Dependent Children, §§ 7, 53 et seq., 110 et seq.

42 Am. Jur. 2d, Infants, § 51.

C.J.S.

- 43 C.J.S., Infants, § 245 et seq.

U.L.A.

- Uniform Juvenile Court Act (U.L.A.) § 37.

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