United States v. HOS

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 09-28-2012
  • Case #: 11-10115
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Senior District Judge Korman for the Court; Chief Judge Kozinski and Circuit Judge Callahan
  • Full Text Opinion

Upon remand from the appeal of a transfer to adult criminal court, a district court may re-litigate the issue of a defendant's age.

On appeal from a transfer to adult criminal court, juvenile HOS's case was remanded with instructions to evaluate "the factors set out in 18 U.S.C. § 5032 that are relevant to the 'interest of justice" determination'" required for such a transfer. Upon remand, the district court instead revoked its earlier finding regarding HOS's juvenile status and found that he was an adult at the time of the charged offenses. HOS here appeals from the order "that the case proceed against HOS as an adult." The Court determined that jurisdiction is appropriate in this case because, although age is a factual determination, it arose "in the context of determining the so-called legal question of whether the case should be transferred 'in the interest of justice.'" Turning to the merits, the Court "reject[ed] HOS's argument that the government was precluded from re-litigating the issues of his age." The Court based this holding on the fact that the district judge "had the discretion to reconsider his earlier ruling, even if it constituted the law of the case" since "even the initial determination of HOS's age failed to finally resolve the issue of whether he could be treated as an adult" given the U.S. Attorney's option to "seek transfer for adult prosecution in the interest of justice." AFFIRMED.

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