Submitted: December 2, 2019
Consideration of Defendant's Motion to Transfer Charges
to Family Court, DENIED.
S. Taylor, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of
Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Attorney for the State.
A. Brown, Esquire and Tristan J. Karsnitz, Esquire, Assistant
Public Defenders, Office of Defense Services, Wilmington,
Delaware. Attorneys for Defendant.
L. MEDINILLA JUDGE
record before this Court reads like the Strange Case of
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Defendant, young Jaier (or Mr. Sharpe),
stands before this Court at age seventeen, facing charges
including Attempted Robbery First Degree, Possession of a
Firearm During the Commission of a Felony
("PFDCF"), Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon and
Possession, Purchase, Own or Control of a Firearm (Handgun)
by a Prohibited Juvenile. Defendant seeks transfer of his charges
to Family Court under 10 Del. C. § 1011. Upon
consideration of the reverse amenability hearing held on
December 2, 2019, the parties' submissions, oral
arguments, and the record in this case, Defendant's
Motion to Transfer Charges to Family Court is DENIED.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
underlying charges in this case relate to an attempted
robbery that took place on March 31, 2019. On this day, a
forty-five-year-old victim was in communication via an iPhone
app with an individual who agreed to meet him in order to
sell him a phone. The victim was directed to the area of 2424
Bowers Street and he went to the location accompanied by his
seventeen-year-old son. The victim met with an individual
described as a black male between the ages of seventeen and
nineteen. The victim stated that upon arrival, another person
appeared, brandished a firearm, and demanded money.
victim is a legally permitted firearm owner. Although
alarmed, through his experience, he saw the individual rack
the firearm twice and concluded that the firearm was not
loaded. He then fled the scene and contacted the police. He
described the firearm as a semi-automatic weapon with 100%
certainty that the gun was empty.
police investigation, recognizing that internet applications
are sometimes used to solicit robberies, law enforcement
analyzed the online account for this particular transaction.
The website used created a GPS record yielding a distinct
address. Through analyses of online accounts, the police
determined that the suspect had an account from the area of
Defendant's residence. A photographic array was shown to
the victim who positively identified Defendant as the person
who displayed the firearm and demanded the money. Defendant
was arrested and charged, accordingly.
moved to transfer his case to Family Court on June 10, 2019.
On September 17, 2019, Defendant requested a continuance of
his hearing in order to review records and decide whether an
expert would be required. The hearing was rescheduled to
December 2, 2019.
State called Matthew Reis of the Wilmington Police
Department. The Defendant called Jennifer Wilson on behalf of
the Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services
("YRS") of the Department of Services for Children,
Youth & Their Families ("DSCYF"), and Dr. Laura
Cooney-Koss, Psy.D. The parties then stipulated to the
introduction of their respective reports. After considering
the parties' submissions, arguments, and the evidence
presented at the reverse amenability hearing, the matter is
ripe for review.
CONTENTION OF THE PARTIES
stated, the underlying charges relate to an attempted
robbery. However, the State portrays Defendant as a violent
and dangerous individual. It asks the Court to consider that,
although not charged, Mr. Sharpe has been a person of
interest in violent and deadly gang-related feuds that have
plagued the City of Wilmington.
Jekyll/Hyde contrast, representatives from YRS-as
well as the only expert that testified in this case-present a
different picture of Jaier. He has excelled while in custody.
Commended for achieving highest "Goldshirt" status
for behavior while detained, not only do they recommend his
return to the Family Court, they stress that Jaier can be
rehabilitated through higher Level IV or V treatment and
programming through YRS that he has yet to receive. Imploring
the Court is also Jaier's strongest advocate-his Mother-a
mother of six who holds down two jobs and clearly loves her
son. Maternally, she further suggests that because she is an
"activist with the kids," her willingness to allow
people to flow in and out of her home has caused her son to
find himself caught in the cross hairs of Wilmington Police
Jekyll/Hyde quandary, the defense argues that to
place Defendant in an adult facility would undoubtedly lead
to the demise of young promising Jaier, while the State
counters that failure to keep him monitored in this Court
serves only to strengthen the more violent and dangerous Mr.
Sharpe as he transitions into adulthood.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
reverse amenability process is meant to identify those
juveniles charged as adults who are amenable to the
rehabilitative processes of the Family Court. If the juvenile
files a motion to transfer the adult charges, this Court must
hold a reverse amenability hearing and weigh the four factors
set forth in 10 Del. C. §
§ 1011(b), the Court may consider evidence of: (1)
"[t]he nature of the present offense and the extent and
nature of the defendant's prior record, if
any;"(2) "[t]he nature of past treatment
and rehabilitative efforts and the nature of the
defendant's response thereto, if any;" (3)
"[w]hether the interests of society and the defendant
would be best served by trial in the Family Court or in the
Superior Court[;]" ...