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JARRETT v. COMMONWEALTH




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JARRETT

v.

COMMONWEALTH


COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA

Present: Judges Benton, Clements and Senior Judge Willis

Argued at Richmond, Virginia

Record No. 1390-02-2

ASHLEY NICOLE JARRETT

v.

COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

 

MEMORANDUM OPINION[1]
BY JUDGE JEAN HARRISON CLEMENTS

OCTOBER 7, 2003

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF CHESTERFIELD COUNTY

Herbert C. Gill, Jr., Judge

Edwin F. Brooks for appellant.

William W. Muse, Senior Assistant Attorney General (Jerry W.

Kilgore, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.

Juvenile appellant Ashley Nicole Jarrett was convicted in a
bench trial of obstruction of

justice, in violation of Code ? 18.2-460, and assault and
battery of a police officer, in violation of

Code ? 18.2-57(C). The trial court sentenced Jarrett to
commitment to the Department of Juvenile

Justice (DJJ) for an indefinite period of time. On appeal,
Jarrett contends she was denied due

process when she was not given credit for time served in
juvenile detention before her commitment.

Finding no error, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

As the parties are fully conversant with the record in this case
and because this

memorandum opinion carries no precedential value, this opinion
recites only those facts and

incidents of the proceedings as are necessary to the parties’
understanding of the disposition of this

appeal.

I. BACKGROUND

The relevant facts in this appeal are not in dispute. Jarrett,
who was born on July 13, 1986,

served approximately six months in secure detention while
awaiting trial in this case. At the

dispositional hearing, which was held on April 25, 2002,
Jarrett’s attorney argued as follows:

[W]hen a juvenile like [Jarrett] is committed[,] the time she
serves

for the detention[,] in this case, the six months, is not
calculated in

her time committed with the Department of Juvenile Justice.

* * * * * * *

. . . This time is not counted, and it is basically dead time.

[Jarrett] has essentially been detained for six months. We

would ask the Court to take that into consideration in fixing
the

punishment.

The trial court sentenced Jarrett to commitment to DJJ for an
indeterminate period not to

exceed thirty-six continuous months. See Code ??
16.1-278.8(A)(14) and 16.1-285. The trial

court’s sentencing order expressly provided, in relevant part,
as follows:

Credit for time served. The defendant shall be given credit for
time

spent in confinement while awaiting trial pursuant to Code

[?] 53.1-187.

II. ANALYSIS

It is axiomatic that the purpose of a direct appeal is to review
specific errors that may have

been committed by the court below. See Rule 5A:18; see also
Yeatts v. Murray, 249 Va. 285,

290-91, 455 S.E.2d 18, 21-22 (1995); Rule 5:17.

In this appeal, Jarrett’s sole claim of error is that the trial
court "did not consider the

extensive time [she] served in the Chesterfield County Juvenile
Detention Home before her

April 25, 2002 sentencing when it sentenced her." In
support of that claim, Jarrett argues that,

unlike adults and juveniles transferred to the circuit court to
be tried as adults, who receive credit

under Code ? 53.1-187 for time served while awaiting trial,
juveniles incarcerated in juvenile

detention awaiting trial in the juvenile and domestic relations
district court do not receive credit for

time served. DJJ does not consider time served in determining a
juvenile’s release date, she asserts.

Thus, she argues, she was denied due process because she was not
given credit for the time she

served in juvenile detention before her commitment. In stating
the relief she seeks, Jarrett requests

only that we "reverse the sentence imposed in this case by
the trial [c]ourt" and "remand the case to

the [trial court] with instructions to sentence [her] with due
consideration given to the time she has

served in juvenile detention prior to her commitment to
[DJJ]."

Upon our review of the record, we conclude that Jarrett’s appeal
lacks merit. The record

plainly shows that, in response to Jarrett’s request at the
dispositional hearing that her time served be

taken into account in "fixing [her] punishment," the
trial court expressly directed in its commitment

order that Jarrett "be given credit for time spent in
confinement awaiting trial pursuant to Code

[?] 53.1-187." Thus, while Code ? 53.1-187 has no
applicability to juveniles in Jarrett’s situation

and may not serve as authority for the trial court’s directive,
the trial court, in fact, granted Jarrett the

precise relief she requested. Hence, she will not now be heard
to claim the trial court erred. See

Buchanan v. Commonwealth, 238 Va. 389, 400-01, 384 S.E.2d 757,
764 (1989) (holding that a

defendant may not be heard to complain on appeal when the lower
court took the very action

requested by the defendant).

Moreover, as alluded to by Jarrett in her argument, where an
indeterminate commitment to

DJJ is ordered, the length of stay is determined by DJJ, not the
trial court. See Code ? 16.1-285.

Thus, if Jarrett believes DJJ failed to credit her for time
served in accordance with the trial court’s

order or denied her due process, her claim of error is against
DJJ and direct appeal to this Court is

not the appropriate method to address the claim.

Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Affirmed.

 

FOOTNOTES:

[1]Pursuant to
Code ? 17.1-413, this opinion is not designated for publication.

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