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J.N.A. v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

October 4, 2017

J.N.A. APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FORT SMITH DISTRICT [NO. 66FJV-16-324] HONORABLE LEIGH ZUERKER, JUDGE

          Dusti Standridge, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Valerie Glover Fortner, Ass't Att'y Gen., and Bryan Foster, Law Student Admitted to Practice Pursuant to Rule XV of the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of the Supreme Court under the Supervision of Darnisa Evans Johnson, Deputy Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          N. MARK KLAPPENBACH, Judge

         Appellant J.N.A., a seventeen-year-old male, was accused of breaking or entering into vehicles, fleeing, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and theft by receiving. The prosecuting attorney filed the petition in the juvenile division of circuit court for these criminal behaviors alleged to have been committed in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in the predawn hours of July 24, 2016. The State filed a motion to have appellant tried as an adult or alternatively be adjudicated under Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction (EJJ). The Sebastian County Circuit Court conducted a hearing on this request and entered an order on September 2, 2016, designating this case as an EJJ matter. Following an October 3, 2016 bench trial, appellant was adjudicated delinquent on all five offenses and placed on probation for an indeterminate period of time not to exceed two years, pursuant to an order entered on October 4, 2016. Appellant filed a notice of appeal on October 27, 2016, specifying that he was appealing the October 4 adjudication and disposition order entered subsequent to the October 3 bench trial. Appellant argues on appeal that the trial court erred in the following ways: (1) by entering a defective order on its face purporting to designate this as an EJJ matter; (2) by finding that this case met the criteria for an EJJ matter; and (3) by finding there to be sufficient evidence that appellant committed aggravated assault. We lack appellate jurisdiction over the EJJ order, and we affirm the adjudication and disposition order.

         First, we discuss appellant's first two points on appeal. Because appellant was seventeen years old at the time of the alleged offenses and because one of those offenses was aggravated assault, the State was permitted to request the juvenile division of circuit court to enter an EJJ designation in these delinquency proceedings. See Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-501(a)(4) (Repl. 2015). The party requesting the EJJ designation has the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that such a designation is warranted. Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-503(b). The circuit court is required to hold an EJJ designation hearing within certain time limits set forth in Arkansas Code Annotated section 9-27-503(a). The circuit court is required to make written findings, and it must consider all of the following factors in making its determination to designate a juvenile as an EJJ offender:

(1) The seriousness of the alleged offense and whether the protection of society requires prosecution as an extended juvenile jurisdiction offender;
(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 delinquent 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 and maturity of the juvenile, as determined by consideration of the juvenile's home, environment, emotional attitude, pattern of living, or desire to be treated as an adult;
(7) Whether there are facilities or programs available to the court that are likely to rehabilitate the juvenile prior to the ...

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