Juvenile Tried as Adult


gavel

Case: In re Westbrook (Unpublished Opinion)

Issues:

Family court’s waiver of jurisdiction allowing respondent-juvenile’s prosecution in adult circuit court; People v. Dunbar; People v. Fowler; MCL 712A.4(4)(a)-(f); MCR 3.950(D)(2)(d)(i)-(vi)

Summary:

Holding that the family court did not err in waiving jurisdiction over respondent-juvenile to allow his prosecution in adult circuit court, the court affirmed the family court’s order. While on a community pass from a residential treatment unit, he cut off his GPS tether and allegedly went on a 2-day crime spree. The prosecution moved the family court to waive jurisdiction so that “he could be processed as an adult in the circuit court for two counts of fleeing from a police officer, two counts of felony-firearm, two counts of carrying a concealed weapon, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, receiving and concealing a firearm, and assaulting a police officer.” On appeal, the court noted that respondent did not address the first three relevant statutory factors, including two that are given the greater weight. It found that the “serious nature of these offenses cannot be understated, and the family court did not err” in concluding that this factor weighed in favor of waiving jurisdiction. It also did not err in weighing the second factor, respondent’s culpability, in favor of waiving jurisdiction. He was the one allegedly “wielding the firearm, driving the vehicle, running from the police, and possessing the drugs.” Further, cutting “the tether was his choice alone, and he appeared to be the leader of the group that caused the disturbance inside a local business.” He also had “a lengthy juvenile record, as the family court noted under factor (iii).” It began when he was 13 years old and “included weapons charges, drug charges, resisting arrest, unlawful driving away of a vehicle, and home invasion.” On appeal, he took issue with the family court’s findings on the final three factors under MCR 3.950(D)(2)(b), but the court found that his arguments lacked merit. The family court addressed his “programming history, the adequacy of the punishments available in the juvenile justice system, and the dispositional options available to respondent. Taken together, [it] properly concluded that, despite some progress made later in these programs, the overwhelming evidence weighed in favor of waiving jurisdiction.”

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