Submitted: March 15, 2018
from United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Missouri - St. Louis
WOLLMAN, SHEPHERD, and ERICKSON, Circuit Judges.
WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge.
Male A.M. appeals the district court's order
transferring him for criminal prosecution as an adult under
18 U.S.C. § 5032. We affirm.
government filed a six-count juvenile information against
A.M. on February 2, 2017. The information charged A.M. with:
(1) one count of carjacking in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§§ 2119 and 2; (2) two counts of attempted
carjacking in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2119 and 2;
(3) two counts of knowingly possessing and brandishing a
firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1); and (4) one count of discharging
a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1). A.M. was seventeen years and
seven months old when the charged acts were allegedly
government filed a contemporaneous motion to transfer A.M.
for criminal prosecution as an adult under 18 U.S.C. §
5032. A federal magistrate judge conducted an evidentiary
hearing, at which a sole witness testified on behalf of the
government. After the hearing, the magistrate judge
recommended that the transfer motion be denied. The
government objected to the magistrate judge's report and
recommendation, and the district court conducted a de
novo review. In doing so, the district court adopted the
magistrate judge's statement of law and legal standards,
but disagreed with the transfer recommendation, sustaining
the government's objections and granting its motion for
district court may assume the truth of the alleged offenses
for purposes of a transfer hearing. United States v.
Juvenile LWO, 160 F.3d 1179, 1180 n.1 (8th Cir. 1998).
We recite the facts of this case in accordance with the
district court's memorandum and order.
and Travion Brown approached a vehicle in downtown St. Louis
on November 20, 2016. Brown pulled out a gun and ordered the
driver to exit the vehicle. The driver complied. A.M. and
Brown got into the vehicle and drove away.
November 22, 2016, A.M., Brown, and a third individual
approached another vehicle that was stopped at a stoplight.
A.M. tapped on the driver's window with a gun. The
traffic light turned green and the driver was able to drive
away. Minutes later, A.M., Brown, and the third individual
came upon a vehicle stopped in traffic. Brown approached the
vehicle, while the others remained on the sidewalk. Brown
shot the driver in the head as he started to drive away.
review the grant of a motion for transfer for adult criminal
prosecution for abuse of discretion and its underlying
factual findings for clear error. United States v.
Juvenile MLA, 157 F.3d 616, 617 (8th Cir. 1998).
federal district court may grant a discretionary transfer of
a juvenile when the court determines that the "transfer
would be in the interest of justice." United States
v. Juvenile JG, 139 F.3d 584, 586 (8th Cir. 1998). In
making its determination, the court must consider six
factors: (1) the age and social background of the juvenile;
(2) the nature of the alleged offense; (3) the extent and
nature of the juvenile's prior delinquency record; (4)
the juvenile's present intellectual development and
psychological maturity; (5) the nature of past treatment
efforts and the juvenile's response to them; and (6) the
availability of programs designed to treat the juvenile's
behavioral problems. 18 U.S.C. § 5032; United States
v. SLW, 406 F.3d 991, 993 (8th Cir. 2005). The
government must prove that transfer is appropriate by a
preponderance of the evidence. United States v.
Parker, 956 F.2d 169, 171 (8th Cir. 1992).
argues that the district court failed to adequately consider
or appropriately weigh the § 5032 factors. Specifically,
he contends that the district court failed to consider his
social background and his likelihood of rehabilitation-that
he was a good student from a stable home who planned on
attending college and who would respond well to treatment. He
also argues that the district court gave too little weight to
the fact that his conduct was less severe than other
juveniles who have been transferred for adult prosecution,
and too much weight to the fact that he was mere months away
from being considered an adult.
no abuse of discretion in the district court's decision
to transfer. The court made specific findings with respect to
each statutory factor. It found that A.M.'s age, the
nature of the offenses, his role in the offenses, and his
intellect and maturity weighed in favor of transfer. It
considered A.M.'s assertions of his upstanding social
background, but found that there was no evidence to support
those assertions and that photos of A.M. flashing gang
symbols and handling firearms undercut them. The district
court further found that there was no evidence to indicate
whether A.M. would be responsive to treatment because he had
not previously been treated. It also considered the fact that
because A.M. was now eighteen there were no longer juvenile
programs designed to treat his behavioral needs.
Additionally, the district court rightfully rejected
A.M.'s contention that his conduct was not severe enough
to warrant transfer. In light of the serious and violent
nature of the offense conduct, as well as A.M.'s full
participation "in the first and second incidents of the
crime spree" and his presence at the third incident,
which "increased the level of threat and seriousness of
the crime, " the court did not ...