United States v. Juvenile Male

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 04-02-2013
  • Case #: 12-10483
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge N.R. Smith for the Court; Circuit Judge Jerome Farris, District Judge Timothy M. Burgess
  • Full Text Opinion

The proper commitment proceeding for a juvenile in federal detention is under the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act, as opposed to 18 U.S.C. § 4241(d); jurisdiction for such decision is determined at the time of the information.

Juvenile Male (“LKAV”) of the Tohono O’odham nation was seventeen when he was charged with murder in 2009. He remained in the custody of the Tohono O’odham nation as incompetent to stand trial until 2011, when the United States filed its own charge to remove LKAV from tribal custody and to proceed against him as an alleged juvenile delinquent under the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act (“FJDA”). The government moved to commit LKAV to an adult medical facility for psychiatric evaluation pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241. LKAV was deemed incompetent to stand trial, however, filed a motion to proceed with commitment under the FJDA, §5037(e). The magistrate judge granted the United States’ motion to proceed under 18 U.S.C. § 4241 and denied LKAV’s motion to proceed under FJDA § 5037(e). The district court affirmed the commitment under 18 U.S.C. § 4241. The Ninth Circuit held that 18 U.S.C. § 4241 does not apply to LKAV since FJDA § 5037(e) is specifically designed for juveniles. The panel first looked at the plain language of the statutes to find that § 5037(e) expressly provides for commitment, study and observation of alleged juvenile delinquents, whereas § 4241 is applicable to federal criminal defendants generally. The government argued that there is nothing in § 4241 indicating that it does not apply to juveniles, but the panel found additional textual support, which indicates that the application of § 5037(e) is proper in this case because it asserts its application to “alleged juvenile delinquents” like LKAV. The panel noted that “[i]t is well-settled that jurisdiction under the FJDA is determined at the time of the information.” A juvenile may remain in a contract juvenile facility for continuity of program participation after the juvenile’s twenty-first birthday.” REVERSED and REMANDED.

Advanced Search