ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE:
MICHAEL JAY SMITH KAREN M. FREEMAN-WILSON
Wabash, Indiana Attorney General of Indiana
CHRISTOPHER L. LAFUSE
Deputy Attorney General
IN THE MATTER OF B.D.T., ) A Child Alleged to be a Delinquent Child, ) ) Appellant-Respondent, ) ) vs. ) No. 85A04-0005-JV-212 ) STATE OF INDIANA, ) ) Appellee-Petitioner. )
OPINION - FOR PUBLICATION
(b) Once an individual described in subsection (a) has been charged with
any crime listed in subsection (a)(1) through (a)(15), the court having adult criminal
jurisdiction shall retain jurisdiction over the case even if the individual pleads guilty
to or is convicted of a lesser included offense. A plea of
guilty to or a conviction of a lesser included offense does not vest
jurisdiction in the juvenile court.
B.D.T. was charged with criminal deviate conduct, which is an offense listed in the above statute. B.D.T. was adjudged a delinquent child by reason of the offense of sexual battery as an included offense to the charged crime of criminal deviate conduct. On the date of the alleged offense, B.D.T. was 16-years old.
A judgment made when the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction is void. Clark v. State, 727 N.E.2d 18, 20 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000).
Jurisdiction is the legal power to entertain any matter or proceeding, and the power to act must be derived from the Constitution or from some statute. Jurisdiction, in this state, embraces three essential elements: (1) jurisdiction of the subject matter, (2) jurisdiction of the person, and (3) jurisdiction of the particular case. Subject matter jurisdiction concerns whether or not the particular court has jurisdiction over the general class of actions to which the particular case belongs. Subject matter jurisdiction must be derived from the Constitution or a statute and cannot be conferred by the consent or agreement of the parties. Neither can an objection to subject matter jurisdiction be waived.
Twyman v. State, 459 N.E.2d 705, 707 (Ind. 1984) (citations omitted).
Because B.D.T. was 16-years old when the alleged offense occurred, the juvenile court, by Ind. Code § 31-30-1-4, lacked the requisite subject-matter jurisdiction to hear his case. Consequently, the juvenile courts judgment is void. Therefore, the juvenile courts judgment is vacated.
B.D.T. also argues that jeopardy having attached, the case against him should be dismissed. The State acknowledges that the juvenile court did not have jurisdiction over B.D.T.s case. However, the State maintains that B.D.T. was not placed in jeopardy, because [a]n accused is not put in jeopardy by a judgment of conviction which is void for lack of jurisdiction. When discharged thereunder he may again be arrested and prosecuted on the original indictment. Majors v. State, 252 Ind. 672, 677, 251 N.E.2d 571, 574 (1969) (quoting Slack v. Grigsby, 229 Ind. 335, 97 N.E.2d 145, 148 (1951)).
In United States v. Ball, 163 U.S. 662, 669 (1896), the United States Supreme Court held that [a]n acquittal before a court having no jurisdiction is, of course, like all the proceedings in the case, absolutely void, and therefore no bar to subsequent indictment and trial in a court which has jurisdiction of the offense. Our state has accepted the general proposition that jeopardy does not attach to a judgment void for lack of jurisdiction. Majors, 251 N.E.2d at 574.
Consequently, B.D.T. was not put in jeopardy by the juvenile courts judgment, because the judgment is void.