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Byrd v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

January 10, 2018

COSTELLO DEVONTE BYRD APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM THE MILLER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 46CR-14-534] HONORABLE CARLTON D. JONES, JUDGE

          Robert M. "Robby" Golden, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Michael A. Hylden, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          BART F. VIRDEN, JUDGE

         Appellant, Costello Devonte Byrd, 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, Byrd and a codefendant, Byron Jamarr Flowers, were charged with raping a child, R.S., who was under the age of fourteen.[1] The events were alleged to have occurred in 2009 and 2010. While the case was pending in the Miller County Circuit Court, Byrd 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.

         Byrd 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 Byrd was between the ages of twelve and fifteen years old. The victim alleged that Byrd and Flowers 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. The first time Byrd filed a juvenile-transfer motion, he was twenty years old. By the time Byrd filed his amended juvenile-transfer motion, he had already turned twenty-one. At the transfer hearing, an employee of the Division of Youth Services testified that there are 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 testified that there are juvenile programs available to Byrd that would be beneficial, but due to his age "the court would have to thread the needle on whether there's adequate time for those services to be rendered." Byrd's stepmother, Sylvia Allen, testified that she had to wake him for work and that she did his laundry. Allen also testified that Byrd paid his car note and insurance every month, that he worked full-time, and that Byrd abided the curfew she and his father had set. Byrd testified that he had worked in the same job for a year and a half and that he had recently been named employee of the month. Byrd recounted that he was a good student in high school and had considered himself a mentor to others in his group. Byrd stated that he was saving money to move out of his parents' home and that he considered himself a mature 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:

(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, ...

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