FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FOURTH DIVISION [NO.
60CR-16-3487] HONORABLE HERBERT WRIGHT, JUDGE
William R. Simpson, Jr., Public Defender, by: Clint Miller,
Deputy Public Defender, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: David L. Eanes, Jr., Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
M. GLOVER, Judge
Allen was charged in Pulaski County Circuit Court with two
counts of aggravated robbery, Class Y felonies, and two
counts of theft of property by threat of serious physical
injury, Class B felonies. He filed a motion to transfer his
case to the juvenile division, which was denied by the
circuit court. Allen has filed an interlocutory appeal of the
denial of his motion to transfer, arguing the circuit
court's decision was clearly erroneous. We affirm the
denial of Allen's motion to transfer.
hearing on Allen's motion to transfer, Detective Julio
Gil of the Little Rock Police Department testified that he
responded to a report of a robbery in southwest Little Rock
on July 31, 2016. The victims, Jose Gonzalez and Gustavo
Martinez, both Hispanic males, told Detective Gil four black
males had robbed them at gunpoint, taking their cell phones
and wallets. On August 8, Mr. Gonzalez brought his new phone
to the police station to show the police that on his iCloud
there were pictures of people he did not know, including
pictures of the people who had robbed him. Through these
pictures, Detective Gil identified three suspects, and Mr.
Gonzalez, using a photo spread, positively identified Allen
and Brian Welch as two of the persons who had robbed him and
tentatively identified Keith Harris as a third suspect.
Detective Gil was unable to get Mr. Martinez to come to the
police station, explaining at the hearing that many people in
the Hispanic community were unwilling to cooperate with the
police in fear of being deported.
stated Brian Welch gave a statement admitting that he, Allen,
and Harris followed the victims in their vehicle until it
stopped, at which time Allen approached the vehicle holding a
gun, and Harris and another person known to Welch only as
Johnathan got the two victims out of the vehicle. Welch
admitted he took a cell phone from the vehicle.
Obi, Allen's aunt, testified in Allen's defense. She
stated that Allen, who was currently attending Central High
School, had lived with her from the beginning of school last
year until he was arrested; prior to that, Allen had lived
with his mother and attended Hall High School. Obi explained
Allen had been retained twice in school; his behavior changed
after transferring to Central; he lost interest in sports;
and he began to associate with a "different type of
crowd." Obi testified Allen had been diagnosed with
oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and was prescribed
medication but had stopped taking it; he had also received
some outpatient therapy. Allen's mother, Obi's
sister, could not be in court for the hearing due to training
requirements associated with her new job, but Obi said her
sister had attempted to get Allen help from school counselors
and juvenile services, only to be told there was nothing they
could do because he had not committed any crimes.
cross-examination, Obi explained she is not Allen's
guardian, but had taken him into her care so her husband
could be a father figure to Allen and to get him out of his
previous neighborhood. She agreed no one had petitioned the
juvenile court for a family-in-need-of-services (FINS) case
to be opened; she said no one had mentioned FINS as an
option; and she could not do anything because she is not
Allen's legal guardian. Obi acknowledged Allen had three
other cases currently pending in juvenile court, but she
stated Allen had never been "convicted" of a crime
in the juvenile system or placed on probation.
Oliver, an employee of the Division of Youth Services (DYS),
testified DYS could offer Allen mental-health services and
life-adaptive skills, as well as individual, group, and
family counseling. Oliver was familiar with ODD, stating it
was a common diagnosis for DYS youth; DYS would be well
suited to treat Allen for ODD; and there was a "good
chance" DYS programs could rehabilitate Allen by the
time he turned twenty-one. However, Oliver admitted she had
not had an opportunity to interview Allen or anyone in his
family and did not know anything about his particular needs
except the information she had been provided by the public
letter from Allen's mother was entered as an exhibit in
which Janice Obi explained she was unable to be in court with
Allen due to work. She stated Allen was a "great
kid" who had been involved in sports but began hanging
out with boys from his school and making poor choices, such
as skipping school and letting his grades drop. She explained
Allen had ODD and was taking medication. When she was unable
to get help from the juvenile-detention center, she sent
Allen to live with her sister. She wrote that she was willing
to have Allen in her care under house arrest; however, she
stated that she knew he did not play a part in the aggravated
robbery for which he stood accused. Her plan if Allen was
released was to place him in Job Corps to continue his
education and training for a trade.
1, 2017, the circuit court entered an order denying
Allen's motion to transfer. Allen appeals the decision,
arguing it is clearly erroneous.
Code Annotated section 9-27-318 (Repl. 2015) governs the
transfer of criminal cases to juvenile court. Subsection (g)
of the provision sets forth the ten factors a ...