Case Caption: In re J.J.J., a MinorCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2013-0022Date: 07/05/2013Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

In an appeal by a minor from an order issued by the Family Division of Superior Court which directed that he be transferred to the Criminal Division to be tried as an adult pursuant to 5 V.I.C. § 2508(b), the People presented sufficient evidence that the defendant was transferable based on his age and the existence of probable cause that he committed the charged offenses. Even if it were error under Federal Rule of Evidence 201 to take judicial notice of the age of the minor based on a court record, any error was harmless in this instance. Once the People present prima facie evidence at a transfer hearing that a defendant was 14 years or older, but less than 18, at the time of the alleged offense, the burden of production then shifts to the minor to disprove the People's evidence. Here the evidence presented by the People regarding the minor's age was uncontested, and the minor never even argued that he was anything other than 17 at the time of the attack. The government has established probable cause pursuant to section 2508(b) when the court finds that the facts and circumstances would warrant a prudent person in believing that the crime has been committed and that the minor committed the charged crime. . Here, the evidence supports the trial court's finding that there was probable cause to believe that this minor, along with the other minors, committed the charged crimes. There was sufficient evidence for a reasonable person to believe that the minor committed the offenses of murder in the first or second degree, assault in the third degree, possession of a dangerous weapon during the commission of those crimes of violence, grand larceny, possession of stolen property, false imprisonment and unauthorized use of a vehicle-either as a principal or as an aider and abettor-and was consequently amenable to transfer. Consequently the order of transfer is affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion