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D.Q. v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

December 11, 2019

D.Q., Appellant
v.
STATE of Arkansas, Appellee

Page 220

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 221

          APPEAL FROM THE WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 72JV-19-133], HONORABLE STACEY ZIMMERMAN, JUDGE

         Eric Moore, for appellant.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: Michael L. Yarbrough, Ass’t Att’y Gen., for appellee.

         OPINION

         N. MARK KLAPPENBACH, Judge

          Appellant D.Q. was charged as a juvenile and accused of being an accomplice to theft of property, accomplice to commercial burglary, accomplice to first-degree criminal mischief, and a minor in possession of a handgun. Appellant was fifteen years old at the time of the alleged crimes. The State filed a motion to transfer the case from the juvenile division of circuit court to the criminal division of circuit court, which was granted. On appeal, appellant argues that the circuit court committed reversible error because (1) it conducted the transfer hearing more than thirty days after appellant was detained in violation of Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-318(f) (Repl. 2015), and (2) there was insufficient evidence to support the decision to transfer. We affirm.

         The charges arose from a February 2019 break-in at an Ace Hardware store located in Prairie Grove. The store’s glass door, alarm system, glass rifle case panel, and glass handgun case panel were damaged or destroyed. More than seventy firearms were stolen. Appellant allegedly acted in concert with three other juveniles. Appellant was detained on February 21. The State filed a motion to transfer on March 20.[1] On March 21, the circuit court set the transfer hearing for March 28.

         On March 27, appellant filed a response to the State’s motion, alleging that the circuit court was statutorily required to hold the transfer hearing within thirty days and that pursuant to the rules of civil procedure, the last day to conduct the hearing was March 25, so March 28 would be three days too late.[2] Appellant cited Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-318(f): "The court shall conduct a transfer hearing within thirty (30) days if the juvenile is detained and no longer than ninety (90) days from the date of the motion to transfer the case." Appellant contended that construing the time limitations of Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-318(f) would be a matter of first impression, that the date of detention was the proper initiating date, and that this necessitated dismissal of the State’s motion to transfer.

Page 222

          At the March 28 hearing, the State argued that appellant’s statutory interpretation was incorrect, that a plain reading meant that the thirty days began to run from the date its motion was filed, and that this transfer hearing was conducted eight days later, well within statutory time limitations. The circuit court concluded that a plain reading of the statute, and common sense, required that the motion’s filing was the date that triggered the statutory time limitations.

          The State then put on its evidence in support of the motion to transfer out of the juvenile division. Prairie Grove’s police chief testified that he responded to a burglary at the hardware store. The glass door and glass gun cases were broken; fifty-two pistols, fifteen revolvers, three shotguns, and five rifles or long guns had been stolen. Following an investigation, four juveniles, including appellant, were arrested. Twenty-six of the firearms had been recovered, one from a high school student who had taken a pistol to school, one from a known felon, and one from a homicide suspect. Police learned through their investigation that appellant was actively involved in planning this burglary while he was in juvenile detention in the month or so leading up to this break-in. Another juvenile in detention had provided written statements and Snapchat messages to the police to show that appellant tried to recruit him as a getaway driver for this burglary.

          A Fayetteville police detective testified that the police recovered a large revolver from a shooting in which one person was killed and another was injured. The revolver (identified by its serial numbers) had been ...


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