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A.J. v. The Eighth Judicial District Court of the State

Supreme Court of Nevada

June 1, 2017

A.J., Petitioner,
v.
THE EIGHTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF CLARK; AND THE HONORABLE WILLIAM O. VOY, DISTRICT JUDGE, Respondents, and THE STATE OF NEVADA, Real Party in Interest.

         Original petition for writ of mandamus or prohibition challenging a district court order adjudicating a minor as a delinquent.

         Petition granted.

          Philip J. Kohn, Public Defender, and Susan D. Roske, Chief Deputy Public Defender, Clark County; S. Alex Spelman, Law Student, SCR 49.5, Las Vegas, for Petitioner.

          Adam Paul Laxalt, Attorney General, Carson City; Steven B. Wolfson, District Attorney, and Brandon L. Lewis, Deputy District Attorney, Clark County, for Real Party in Interest. BEFORE HARDESTY, PARRAGUIRRE and STIGLICH, JJ.

          OPINION [1]

          HARDESTY, J.

         In this original proceeding, we are asked to determine whether minors who are arrested for solicitation or prostitution, as demonstrated by the referral charge, facts of arrest, or other persuasive evidence, but are charged in juvenile court with offenses other than prostitution or solicitation, are entitled to the benefits of NRS 62G.240 precluding formal adjudication of delinquency and ensuring counseling and medical treatment services as part of a consent decree. We conclude that where a minor is arrested solely for solicitation or prostitution, NRS 62C.240 applies.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Petitioner A.J. has been in foster care for most of her life. When A.J. was 15 years old, she was recruited by an older man into the Las Vegas sex trade. In July 2015, A.J. was stopped by a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officer while she was walking back and forth on Tropicana Avenue. A.J. initially refused to provide her identifying information to the police officers but later provided the requested information. During the stop, A.J. admitted that she had been working as a prostitute for the last three months. A.J. was then arrested for soliciting prostitution and loitering for the purpose of prostitution and transferred to Clark County Juvenile Hall.

         Due to the nature of her charges, A.J.'s case was transferred to the juvenile court's sexually exploited youth calendar. The State filed a delinquency petition charging A.J. with only obstructing an officer based on her refusal to provide identifying information (Petition 1). A.J. entered an admission to the charge and was adjudicated as a delinquent. She was placed on formal probation for a period of 12 months, with a suspended commitment to the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS), and with various conditions, including no contact with persons and places involved in prostitution and home placement through the Clark County Department of Family Services (CCDFS).

         A.J. was placed at St. Jude's Ranch for Children on GPS monitoring. Less than a month after placement, GPS monitoring was removed and A.J. ran away from St. Jude's. In September, LVMPD again stopped A.J. on Tropicana Avenue for suspected solicitation of prostitution. A.J. was subsequently arrested for soliciting prostitution after agreeing to perform a sexual act for a fee with an undercover police officer.

         A.J. again appeared in juvenile court. A.J. was released to Child Haven because she lost her placement at St. Jude's after running away. The State filed a second petition (Petition 2), alleging a violation of probation for violating curfew and associating with places involved in prostitution. A.J. ran away again, resulting in the State filing a third petition (Petition 3), alleging violation of probation for being in an unauthorized location. The juvenile court then determined that A.J. would remain detained pending entry of a plea.

         In October, A.J. admitted to a violation of probation on Petition 2, and Petition 3 was dismissed. A.J. was continued on formal probation and was released to CCDFS once placement was located. A placement home was located in November, and the GPS ankle monitor was removed. A.J. ran away from her placement, and a writ of attachment was issued. A.J. was arrested on the writ, and the State filed a fourth petition alleging another violation of probation (Petition 4). A.J. appeared in juvenile court again and was ordered detained. A formal report and disposition was set and the juvenile court subsequently committed A.J. to DCFS for placement at the Caliente Youth Center.

         A.J. petitions this court for a writ of mandamus or prohibition directing the juvenile court to vacate its orders adjudicating her as a ...


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