FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 04CR-18-1214],
HONORABLE ROBIN F. GREEN, JUDGE
Lisa-Marie Norris, for appellant.
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Michael L. Yarbrough, Asst Atty
Gen., for appellee.
S. HIXSON, Judge
Appellant Anthony Michael Spears, Jr., was charged in the
criminal division of circuit court with accomplice to
first-degree battery with an enhancement for engaging in a
violent criminal group activity. Spears, who was sixteen
years old at the time of the offense, was alleged to have
acted in concert with Travis Harris and Bret Jackson in
causing physical injury to Chance Cooper by means of a
firearm on June 12, 2018.
filed a motion to transfer the case to the juvenile division
of circuit court. After a hearing on the motion, the trial
court entered an order denying Spearss motion to transfer,
making written findings in support of its decision.
now appeals from the order denying his motion to transfer to
juvenile court. On appeal, Spears argues that the trial
courts denial of his motion to transfer was clearly
erroneous and based on matters not placed in evidence at the
transfer hearing. We reverse and remand for reconsideration
of the transfer motion.
Arkansas law, a prosecuting attorney has discretion to charge
a juvenile sixteen years of age or older in the criminal
division of circuit court if the juvenile has engaged in
conduct that, if committed by an adult, would be a felony.
Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-318(c)(1) (Repl. 2015). On the motion
of the court or any party, the court in which the criminal
charges have been filed shall conduct a hearing to determine
whether to transfer the case to another division of circuit
court having jurisdiction. Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-318(e). The
moving party bears the burden of proving that the case should
be transferred to the juvenile division of circuit court.
Kiser v. State, 2016 Ark.App. 198, 487 S.W.3d 374.
The trial court shall order the case transferred to another
division of 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
that degree of proof that will produce in the trier of fact a
firm conviction as to the allegation sought to be
established. Woods v. State, 2018 Ark.App. 576, 565
S.W.3d 124. We will not reverse a trial courts determination
of whether to transfer a case unless the 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. Id.
juvenile-transfer hearing, the trial court is required to
consider all of the following factors:
(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 juveniles 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
judge of the juvenile division of circuit court that are
likely to rehabilitate the juvenile before the expiration of
the juveniles twenty-first birthday;
(8) Whether the juvenile acted alone or was part of a group
in the commission of the alleged offense;
(9) Written reports and other materials relating to the
juveniles mental, physical, educational, and social history;
(10) Any other factors deemed relevant by the judge.
Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-318(g). Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. §
9-27-318(h)(1), a trial court shall make written findings on
all of the factors set forth above. However, there is no
requirement that proof be introduced against the juvenile on
each factor, and the trial court is not obligated to give
equal weight to each of these factors in determining whether
a case should be transferred. K.O.P. v. State, 2013
Ark.App. 667, 2013 WL 6002068.
Salamanca, Spearss mother, testified at the transfer
hearing. Salamanca testified that she worked long hours and
often left Spears in someone elses care. Salamanca testified
that Spears was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder
when he was twelve years old and continues to take medication
for it. Salamanca indicated that she did not have any trouble
with Spears until he was thirteen. At that age, Spears began
acting "strange and really aggressive," and he was
arrested and adjudicated delinquent for possession of
marijuana and drug paraphernalia. According to Salamanca,
Spears was then placed on juvenile probation and went to some
inpatient counseling. During his probation, Spears committed
probation violations because he "did not want to be home
when he was supposed to be home." Based on his
violations, Spears had to wear an electronic ankle monitor.
Salamanca testified that Spears was also arrested in early
2018 for third-degree battery committed against the victim
herein, Chance Cooper. ...