United States v. Juvenile Male

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 01-09-2013
  • Case #: 12-30206
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Gould for the Court; Circuit Judge M. Smith and District Judge Duffy.
  • Full Text Opinion

The Ninth Circuit joined its sister circuits in not requiring a psychological evaluation for determining whether transfer from juvenile proceedings to adult prosecution is "in the interest of justice." Presuming guilt for the purposes of a transfer decision is not a violation of due process rights.

A juvenile male defendant, on trial for second degree murder, challenged the district court's findings on his intellectual development and psychological maturity in its decision to transfer the case for adult prosecution. The defendant also claimed the district court violated his due process rights in presuming the defendant would be found guilty of one or both charges for the purposes of making its transfer decision. Defendant challenged the transfer decision based on the third element of 18 U.S.C. § 5032 which states the transfer must be in the interest of justice. To make these findings, the district court relied on lay-witness testimony about the defendant's demeanor and responses during interviews with various officers. Defendant claimed a psychological evaluation was necessary to make these findings. The Ninth Circuit rejected the defendant's claim and joined its sister circuits in holding that a psychological evaluation is not required. The Court also held that the district court did not violate Defendant's due process rights by presuming Defendant would be found guilty of one or both charges for purposes of its transfer decision. AFFIRMED.

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