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Flowers v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

September 20, 2017

BYRON JAMARR FLOWERS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM THE MILLER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 46CR-14-535] HONORABLE CARLTON D. JONES, JUDGE

          The Burns Law Firm, PLLC, by: Jack D. Burn, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Rachel Kemp, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          LARRY D. VAUGHT, JUDGE

         Appellant, Byron Jamarr Flowers, appeals the Circuit Court of Miller County's order denying his motion to transfer his case to the juvenile division of circuit court. We affirm.

         In 2014, Flowers and a codefendant, Costello Byrd, were charged with raping a child, R.S., who was under the age of fourteen. The events were alleged to have occurred in 2009 and 2010. While the case was pending in the Miller County Circuit Court, Flowers filed a motion to transfer it to the juvenile division. On December 10, 2015, the court held a juvenile-transfer hearing, after which it issued a letter order denying the motion.

         Flowers was twenty years old when the charges were first brought against him in this case. The acts were alleged to have occurred when the victim was between the ages of three and six years old, and when Flowers was between the ages of fourteen and sixteen years old. The victim alleged that Flowers and Byrd repeatedly raped her vaginally and anally, causing her to bleed. A sexual-assault examination revealed four well-healed injuries to her vaginal area that were consistent with her accounts of the rapes. By the time Flowers filed his first juvenile-transfer motion, he had already turned twenty-one. His amended motion was filed after his twenty-second birthday. At the transfer hearing, an employee of the Division of Youth Services testified that there were no programs or facilities available to individuals who have reached the age of twenty-one. Scott Tanner, a juvenile ombudsman, testified that the juvenile court loses jurisdiction when an individual reaches the age of twenty-one. He also agreed that there are no juvenile programs available to Flowers due to his age. Flowers's mother testified that, while he had been an obedient child, he was currently on probation for a misdemeanor marijuana conviction. He had worked full time since he was fifteen years old, purchased his own car at sixteen years old, and she now considered him an adult.

         Arkansas Code Annotated section 9-27-318(g) (Repl. 2015) sets forth the factors the circuit court must consider and make written findings on at a transfer hearing. Those factors are:

(1)the seriousness of the alleged offense and whether the protection of society requires prosecution in the criminal division of circuit court;
(2)whether the alleged offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated, or willful manner;
(3)whether the offense was against a person or property, with greater weight being given to offenses against persons, especially if personal injury resulted;
(4)the culpability of the juvenile, including the level of planning and participation in the alleged offense;
(5) the previous history of the juvenile, including whether the juvenile had been adjudicated a juvenile offender and, if so, whether the offenses were against persons or property, and any other previous history of antisocial behavior or patterns of physical violence;
(6)the sophistication or maturity of the juvenile as determined by consideration of the juvenile's home, environment, emotional attitude, pattern of living, or ...

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