FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SEVENTH DIVISION [NO.
60CR-17-4177] HONORABLE BARRY A. SIMS, JUDGE.
Quentin E. May, PLC, by: Quentin E. May, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Rebecca Kane, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge.
Jaylon Holmes (DOB: 03-12-02) appeals from the order of the
Pulaski County Circuit Court denying his motion to transfer
his case to the juvenile division of the circuit court. He
argues that the circuit court's denial of his motion to
transfer was clearly erroneous or, in the alternative, that
the court should have transferred the case and designated it
as extended juvenile jurisdiction ("EJJ"). We
was charged as an adult in the Pulaski County Circuit Court
with two counts of aggravated robbery. His charges arose out
of two separate aggravated robberies-- one that occurred on
October 15, 2017, and the other on October 18, 2017; Holmes
was fifteen years old at the time. Holmes filed a motion to
transfer this case to the juvenile division of the circuit
court on January 17, 2018. The circuit court conducted a
hearing on Holmes's motion on February 15, 2018.
at the hearing indicated that on October 15, 2017, two of
Holmes's codefendants entered a Jimmy John's
restaurant just before it closed and committed robbery. Both
men had their faces covered, and one of them had a firearm.
Surveillance video showed an older model Pontiac Sunfire
leaving the scene. Holmes admitted to police that he and
another codefendant waited inside the vehicle during the
October 18, 2017, Holmes admitted to police that he and a
codefendant had robbed a Metro PCS store at gunpoint and had
stolen money and cellphones from the business. Holmes
identified himself to police as the person depicted in the
surveillance-video photographs wearing the Spider-Man mask
pointing the gun at the employees. The Metro PCS employees
saw the men leaving in a vehicle that matched the description
of the one used to flee from the Jimmy John's restaurant
on October 15. Within an hour of the Metro PCS robbery,
police officers located and arrested Holmes and three
codefendants at one of the codefendant's home. Inside the
home, officers found two firearms matching those shown in the
Metro PCS surveillance video, a Spider-Man mask, and new
Metro PCS cellular phones.
probation officer, Jennie Promack, testified that Holmes had
been involved in the juvenile-justice system since 2014.
While he had "passed on" to ninth grade in the fall
of 2017, his record in eighth grade was terrible--including
routine tardiness, unexcused absences, constant suspensions,
and very poor grades. Promack testified that her records
indicated that Holmes had thirteen school disciplinary
sanctions and numerous suspensions. He was arrested for
possessing a handgun on school property in early 2017, and
the juvenile court ordered him to wear an ankle monitor.
Holmes cut off the ankle monitor on May 19, 2017, and was
arrested four days later on charges of theft by receiving and
felony fleeing. The juvenile court also ordered Holmes to
attend anger-management classes, but after he missed three
classes, the referral was closed for noncompliance.
testified that she referred Holmes for a drug-and-alcohol
assessment, a psycho-social assessment, and entry into the
Civilian Student Training Educational Program
("C-Step") as ordered by the juvenile court;
however, Holmes was arrested on the charges in this case so
he never received any of those services. Promack also
testified that based on the individuals with whom Holmes
associated and posts made on Facebook, she believed that
Holmes was a member of a gang.
Arkansas law, a prosecuting attorney has discretion to charge
a juvenile aged fourteen or fifteen years old when he or she
engages in conduct that, if committed by an adult, would be
aggravated robbery. See Ark. Code Ann. §
9-27-318(c)(2)(D) (Repl. 2015). On motion of the court or any
party, the court in which the charges have been filed shall
conduct a transfer hearing to determine whether to transfer
the case to another division of the circuit court. Ark. Code
Ann. § 9-27-318(e).
moving party bears the burden of proving that the case should
be transferred. Z.T. v. State, 2015 Ark.App. 282.
The court shall order the case transferred to another
division of the circuit court only upon a finding by clear
and convincing evidence that the case should be transferred.
Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-318(h)(2). Clear and convincing
evidence is the degree of proof that will produce in the
trier of fact a firm conviction as to the allegation sought
to be established. R.W.G. v. State, 2014 Ark.App.
545, 444 S.W.3d 376. We will not reverse a circuit
court's determination whether to transfer a case unless
that decision is clearly erroneous. Id. A finding is
clearly erroneous when, although there is evidence to support
it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with a
firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.
Code Annotated section 9-27-318(g) sets forth all the factors
the court shall consider in a transfer hearing:
(1) The seriousness of the alleged offense and whether the
protection of society requires prosecution in the criminal