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State v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District

August 29, 2013

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
SANTANA JONES DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-562241

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Sheryl A. Trzaska Assistant State Public Defender.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Timothy J. McGinty Cuyahoga County Prosecutor By: Daniel T. Van Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.

BEFORE: Keough, J., Stewart, A.J., and McCormack, J.

JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

KATHLEEN ANN KEOUGH, JUDGE

(¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Santana Jones, appeals from the trial court's judgment finding him guilty of one count of discharge of a firearm on or near prohibited premises, with corresponding firearm specifications, and sentencing him to an aggregate prison term of four years. Jones was originally charged in the juvenile division of the Cuyahoga County common pleas court. After bindover proceedings, the juvenile court transferred jurisdiction to the general division of the common pleas court for prosecution as an adult. Jones contends on appeal that the juvenile court abused its discretion in transferring his case to the common pleas court. Finding no abuse of discretion, we affirm.

I. Background

(¶ 2} In 2012, Jones, who was 16 years old at the time, was charged in juvenile court with three counts of felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(2) and one count of discharge of a firearm in violation of R.C. 2923.162(A)(3). All counts contained one- and three-year firearm specifications. The state subsequently moved for discretionary transfer under R.C. 2152.12(B) for prosecution as an adult.

(¶ 3} The juvenile court held a hearing to determine whether there was probable cause to believe that Jones had committed the charged offenses. Upon questioning by the court before the hearing began, Jones stated that he wished to proceed with the hearing, and confirmed that he had rejected the state's plea offer that would have required that he be committed to an Ohio Department of Youth Services ("DYS") facility until he was 21 years of age.

(¶ 4} At the hearing, the state's witnesses testified that on the night of February 2, 2012, Jones cocked and pointed a gun at three individuals who were standing with a group of juveniles on a street. There was a history of prior fights and incidents between Jones and the individuals. A girl standing next to Jones tried to restrain him and pulled his arm up in the air, at which point the gun went off and everyone ran away.

(¶ 5} The juvenile court found that the state had established probable cause. After a hearing to determine whether Jones was amenable to rehabilitation in the juvenile justice system, the juvenile court relinquished jurisdiction and transferred the case to the common pleas court.

(¶ 6} Jones was then indicted on three counts of felonious assault with one- and three-year firearm specifications; one count of discharge of a firearm on or near prohibited premises with one- and three-year firearm specifications; and one count of carrying a concealed weapon. Pursuant to a plea deal, he pled guilty to discharge of a firearm on or near prohibited premises with a three-year firearm specification. The trial court sentenced him to a one-year prison term, consecutive to the three-year firearm specification, for an aggregate term of four years. Jones now appeals, challenging the juvenile court's decision to grant discretionary bindover.

II. Analysis

(¶ 7} Under R.C. 2152.12(B), after a complaint has been filed charging a child with offenses that would be a felony if committed by an adult, a juvenile court may transfer jurisdiction to the general division of the common pleas court if it finds that (1) the child was 14 years of age or older at the time of the act; (2) there is probable cause that the child committed the act; and (3) the child is not amenable to rehabilitation within the juvenile justice system and, to ensure the safety of the community, the child should be subject to adult sanctions.

(¶ 8} In making the amenability determination, the juvenile court is instructed to consider statutory factors for and against transferring jurisdiction. R.C. 2152.12(D) lists the factors in favor of transferring jurisdiction, while R.C. 2152.12(E) lists the factors against transfer. In addition to the factors specifically listed in the statute, the juvenile court is instructed to consider "any other relevant factors." R.C. 2152.12(D) and (E). The specific factors the court relied upon to authorize the transfer must appear in the record. R.C. 2152.12(B)(3); State v. Poole, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 98153, 2012-Ohio-5739, ¶ 3.

(¶ 9} A juvenile court's amenability determination under R.C. 2152.12 will not be reversed unless the court has abused its discretion. In re A.J.S., 120 Ohio St.3d 185, 2008-Ohio-5307, 897 N.E.2d 629, ¶ 39; In re J.S., 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 92504, 2009-Ohio-3470, ΒΆ 31. Thus, we must determine whether the court's decision was unreasonable, ...


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