State v. K.B., JS-2022-348

CourtUnited States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
Writing for the CourtLEWIS, JUDGE
Citation2022 OK CR 22
PartiesTHE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, Appellant v. K.B., Appellee
Docket NumberJS-2022-348
Decision Date22 September 2022

2022 OK CR 22

THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, Appellant
v.

K.B., Appellee

No. JS-2022-348

Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma

September 22, 2022


An Appeal from the District Court of Oklahoma County, the Honorable Thomas Riesen, Special Judge

Appearances at Trial

Tony Coleman Counsel for Defendant

Kathryn Bautista Asst. District Attorney Counsel for The State

Appearances on Appeal

Kathryn Bautista Asst. District Attorney Counsel For Appellant

Tony Coleman Jaye Mendros Counsel For Appellee

OPINION

LEWIS, JUDGE

¶1 Appellee, K.B., is charged as a Youthful Offender with Manslaughter in the First Degree, in violation of 21 O.S.2011, § 711 (3), in Oklahoma County District Court Case No. CF-2021-5362. On January 6, 2022, the State filed a Motion for Imposition of an Adult Sentence. Eight days later, Appellee filed a Motion for Certification as a Juvenile or in the Alternative as a Youthful Offender. A hearing on the motions was conducted over the course of March 11, 18, and 30, 2022. After taking the matter under advisement, the Honorable Thomas Riesen, Special Judge, denied the State's request to certify Appellee as eligible for an adult sentence and granted Appellee's request to be treated as a Youthful Offender in an order filed on April 7, 2022. [1] The order further bound Appellee over for trial as charged.

¶2 The State appeals the denial of its Motion for Imposition of an Adult Sentence, arguing the trial court abused its discretion because the State presented clear and convincing evidence that Appellee should be sentenced as an adult upon conviction. The State contends that the trial court improperly weighed the seven factors enumerated in 10A O.S.Supp.2018, § 2-5-208. Alternatively, the State argues that the trial court improperly considered factors outside of those enumerated in the statute.

¶3 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 the issue was presented to this Court in oral argument on July 21, 2022. At the conclusion of oral argument, the parties were advised of the decision of this Court.

¶4 The District Court's order denying the State's request to certify Appellee to stand trial as an adult is AFFIRMED. Recognizing the need for expeditiousness in this matter given Appellee's age, the Court entered a Summary Order on August 10, 2022, directing the District Court to proceed on the disposition of Appellee's case without delay. [2] The Summary Order filed on August 10, 2022, is hereby WITHDRAWN and substituted with the following Opinion.

¶5 We note first that, by operation of law, Appellee is presumed to be a Youthful Offender. See 10A O.S.Supp.2021, § 2-5-206(A)(1)(c). To rebut this presumption, the State must prove by clear and convincing evidence that either "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); G.G. v. State, 1999 OK CR 7, ¶ 12, 989 P.2d 936, 939; J.T.A. v. State, 2018 OK CR 12, ¶ 11, 422 P.3d 778, 781. Only if the trial court makes at least one of these findings by clear and convincing evidence is it required to certify the accused person as eligible for the imposition of an adult sentence. 10A O.S.Supp.2018, § 2-5-208(D).

¶6 In making this determination, the trial court is directed to consider the following seven factors, giving greatest weight to the first three:

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 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,
d. the sophistication and maturity of the accused person and the capability of distinguishing right from wrong as determined by consideration of the psychological evaluation, home, environmental situation, emotional attitude and pattern of living of the accused person,
e. the prospects for adequate protection of the public if the accused person is processed through the youthful offender system or the juvenile system,
f. the reasonable likelihood of rehabilitation of the accused person if the accused person is found to have committed the alleged offense, by the use of procedures and facilities currently available to the juvenile court, and
g. whether the offense occurred while the accused person was escaping or on escape status from an institution for youthful offenders or delinquent children.

10A O.S.Supp.2018, § 2-5-208(C)(2).

¶7 The question before this Court is whether the trial court abused its discretion in denying the State's motion to certify Appellee as eligible for imposition of an adult sentence. See A.R.M. v. State, 2011 OK CR 25, ¶ 7, 279 P.3d 797, 799; C.L.F. v. State, 1999 OK CR 12, ¶ 5, 989 P.2d 945, 946.

An "abuse of discretion" has been defined by this Court as a clearly erroneous conclusion and judgment, one that is 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., 2011 OK CR 25, ¶ 7, 279 P.3d at 799 (quoting W.C.P. v. State, 1990 OK CR 24, ¶ 9, 791 P.2d 97, 100).

¶8 It is undisputed that Appellee fatally shot Devontae Smith in the late morning of November 24, 2021, in Oklahoma City. Appellee was seventeen years and two months of age at the time. The shooting occurred in a vacant lot adjoining a convenience store located near the intersection of N.E. 13th and Lottie. Video recordings of the incident captured by the convenience store's surveillance system were admitted into evidence at preliminary hearing.

¶9 Smith arrived at the vacant lot first in a white Toyota Camry driven by Ronald Holmes. A few minutes later, Appellee arrived in a white Ford Taurus driven by his girlfriend, D.L. [3] Appellee and Smith, soon joined by Holmes, briefly interacted outside of the vehicles. Moments later, D.L. exited the Taurus, approached the group, and began shouting at...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT