State v. J.B., JS-2022-127

CourtUnited States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
Writing for the CourtHUDSON, VICE PRESIDING JUDGE
PartiesTHE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, Appellant v. J.B., Appellee
Docket NumberJS-2022-127
Decision Date25 August 2022

2022 OK CR 18

THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, Appellant
v.

J.B., Appellee

No. JS-2022-127

Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma

August 25, 2022


AN APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF OKLAHOMA COUNTY, THE HONORABLE LYDIA GREEN, SPECIAL JUDGE

JACOB BENEDICT

ASSISTANT PUBLIC DEFENDER

COUNSEL FOR J.B.

ANNE MULDER

ASST. DISTRICT ATTORNEY

COUNSEL FOR THE STATE

OPINION

HUDSON, VICE PRESIDING JUDGE

¶1 Appellee, J.B., was charged pursuant to the Youthful Offender Act [1] with Second Degree Murder, in violation of 21 O.S.2011, § 701.8 (Count 1), and three counts of Assault With a Dangerous Weapon, in violation of 21 O.S.2011, § 652 (Counts 2-4), in Oklahoma County District Court Case No. CF-2021-2922.

¶2 On August 4, 2021, the State filed a Motion for Imposition of an Adult Sentence. The motion was heard and denied on January 31, 2022, by the Honorable Lydia Green, Special Judge, in an order which the State now appeals.

¶3 In seeking reversal of Judge Green's denial of its motion to impose an adult sentence pursuant to 10A O.S.Supp.2018, § 2-5-208(E), the State raises one proposition of error:

THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN DENYING THE STATE'S MOTION TO IMPOSE ADULT CERTIFICATION AS THE STATE PRESENTED BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT APPELLEE SHOULD BE SENTENCED AS AN ADULT. THE TRIAL COURT IMPROPERLY WEIGHED THE SEVEN ENUMERATED FACTORS IN SECTION 2-5-208 OF 10A OF THE OKLAHOMA STATUES, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE IMPROPERLY CONSIDERED FACTORS OUTSIDE OF THE ENUMERATED ONES IN SECTION 2-5-208 OF TITLE 10A OF THE OKLAHOMA STATUTES

¶4 Pursuant to Rule 11.2, Rules of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, Title 22, Ch.18, App. (2022), this appeal was automatically assigned to this Court's accelerated docket and heard in oral argument on May 12, 2022. At the conclusion of that argument, the parties were advised of this Court's decision. The trial court's order denying the State's motion to certify J.B. as eligible to be sentenced as an adult is REVERSED and this case is REMANDED to the District Court of Oklahoma County.

¶5 On July 6, 2021, Cameron Shores was speaking with his mother, Dalma Shores, and his friend, Adam Rouse, in an apartment complex parking lot when a car driven by Appellee pulled up and Appellee and his passenger got out and began threatening them. Appellee and his passenger, Latrell Davis, exited the vehicle and Appellee began shooting at Mr. Shores and Mr. Rouse. [2] Appellee chased Mr. Shores and Mr. Rouse and fired at least five shots at them. During the shooting, Mr. Davis was struck by a bullet and died on the ground next to Appellee's car. Appellee admitted to law enforcement that he retrieved Mr. Davis's gun from the car and fired it several times accidentally hitting and killing Mr. Davis.

¶6 A psychologist and a juvenile justice specialist testified at the hearing on the State's motion to impose an adult sentence. They stated that with the treatment resources available it was possible to rehabilitate J.B. but that due to his significant barriers to treatment estimated his amenability to treatment to be fair. According to their testimony, the necessary treatment program would last approximately twenty-one months. At the time of the hearing before Judge Green, there was approximately seven months available to treat J.B. before he aged out of OJA custody. See 10A O.S.Supp.2021, § 2-5-209.

¶7 Prosecutors who believe that an accused youthful offender "would not reasonably complete a plan of rehabilitation or the public would not be adequately protected if the person were to be sentenced as a youthful offender, and should receive an adult sentence" are required to file a pre-trial motion seeking the imposition of an adult sentence. 10A O.S.Supp.2018, § 2-5-208(A). The trial court is required to hold a hearing and grant the motion if the record and evidence prove "by clear and convincing evidence that there is good cause to believe that the accused person would not reasonably complete a plan of rehabilitation or that the public would not be adequately protected if the person were to be sentenced as a youthful offender." 10A O.S.Supp.2018, § 2-5-208(D). "Whether or not the proof is sufficient lies within the discretion of the magistrate; and on appeal, the magistrate's ruling will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion." T.G.L. v. State, 2015 OK CR 4, ¶ 10, 344 P.3d 1098, 1100 (quoting J.D.P. v. State, 1999 OK CR 5, ¶ 6, 989 P.2d 948, 949).

An "abuse of discretion" has been defined by this Court as a clearly erroneous conclusion and judgment, one that is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts presented in support of and against the application The trial court's decision must be determined by the evidence presented on the record, just as our review is limited to the record presented

A.R.M. v. State, 2011 OK CR 25, ¶ 7, 279 P.3d 797, 799 (quoting W.C.P. v. State, 1990 OK CR 24, ¶ 9, 791 P.2d 97, 100); accord C.L.F. v. State, 1999 OK CR 12, ¶ 5, 989 P.2d 945, 946.

¶8 In making its determination, the trial court is to consider seven statutory factors enumerated in Section 2-5-208(C)(2), placing the greatest weight upon the first three of these factors, which are:

a. whether the offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated or willful manner;
b. whether the offense was against persons and, if personal injury resulted, the degree of injury;
c. the record and past history of the accused person, including previous contacts with law enforcement agencies and juvenile or criminal courts, prior periods of probation and commitments to juvenile institutions.

Then the trial court is directed to apply the overarching criteria found in Section 2-5-208(D) as follows:

After the hearing and consideration of the report of the investigation, the court shall certify the person as eligible for the imposition of an adult sentence only if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that there is good cause to believe that the accused person would not reasonably complete a plan of rehabilitation or that the public would not be adequately protected if the
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