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United States v. A. R.

filed: October 25, 1994.


On Appeal From the United States District Court For the Western District of Pennsylvania. (D.C. Civil Action No. 93-cr-00125).

Before: Cowen and Roth, Circuit Judges and Brown, District Judge*fn1

Author: Roth


ROTH, Circuit Judge :

A.R., a juvenile, challenges an order of the district court granting the government's motion to proceed against him as an adult. At the adult certification hearing, also referred to as the transfer hearing, the government introduced into evidence several psychiatric and psychological reports. The evaluations of defendant, upon which these reports were based, were conducted in preparation for a similar certification motion, then pending in state court, regarding unrelated state charges. A.R. objected to the use of these reports, contending that their use violated his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights because the evaluations were performed without prior Miranda warnings and without prior notice to his appointed counsel. A.R. also claims that the district court abused its discretion in granting the motion to proceed against him as an adult. Because we find these contentions to be without merit, we will affirm the order of the district court.


On May 27, 1993, appellant A.R. and a group of companions allegedly spotted a white Pontiac Trans Am in a hotel parking lot and decided to steal it. A.R. approached the car, pointed a gun at the head of the woman in the driver's seat and told her to get out because he was taking the car. The driver and her passenger got out of the car. A.R. and N.A., a female juvenile who accompanied him, got into the Trans Am and drove away. They were apprehended following a high-speed chase. A.R. was charged with conspiracy to commit carjacking, the substantive offense of carjacking, and use of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence. After he was in custody, state authorities also filed charges against him for a number of armed robberies at ATM machines committed the day before the carjacking.

At the time of his arrest, A.R. was 17 years old. He was taken to a juvenile detention center where he underwent a psychological evaluation on June 11 and a psychiatric evaluation on June 16. Both were conducted at the request of the district attorney, working on the state charges, for use in a hearing in state court to determine whether A.R. should be certified as an adult. The reports of these evaluations were designed only for use in the certification proceeding and were not intended for later use in either a criminal trial or juvenile delinquency proceeding.

The reports concerned A.R.'s intellectual development and psychological maturity. In addition, the reports commented upon his past problems, his response to prior treatment efforts, and the likelihood or not of future treatment within the juvenile Justice system being successful. The reports included summaries of the doctors' conversations with A.R. concerning the carjacking incident and his general course of delinquent behavior. They also included observations on his attitude and social interaction. The psychiatrist's report concluded that A.R. had a "conduct disorder" and a "personality disorder, mixed type," and stated in its recommendation that "his behavior thus far indicates need for a highly secure facility." App. at 279. The psychologist focused on A.R.'s intransigence and sarcasm during their interview, as well as his reported difficulties in "thinking." The report concludes:

It appears that [A.R.] was not honest in today's interview. Moreover, he made a number of statements which are alarming. Although he claims not to remember the latest incident, he never expressed any regret over his behavior. Instead, he tends to glorify himself and what he has done. [A.R.] has already demonstrated his failure to benefit from placement and his open defiance of the rules of those placements. At this time, I cannot think of anything more that the juvenile system can offer him.

App. at 281.

According to A.R., he was not given Miranda warnings prior to the evaluations, nor was his counsel given notice that they were to occur. The record before us contains no explicit factual findings concerning the truth of the allegations in the report.*fn2 The government concedes that the usual practice prior to this type of evaluation includes neither the giving of Miranda warnings nor the provision of notice to counsel. We will assume that no warning or notice was given.

After the government filed its information in this case, it sought the district court's permission to proceed against A.R. as an adult. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 5032, the district court held a hearing on the adult certification motion on October 13, 1993, at which both sides presented witnesses. The statute provides that, at such a transfer hearing,

evidence of the following factors shall be considered, and findings with regard to each factor shall be made in the record, in assessing whether transfer would be in the interest of Justice: the age and social background of the juvenile; the nature of the alleged offense; the extent and nature of the juvenile's prior delinquency record; the juvenile's present intellectual development and psychological maturity; the nature of past treatment efforts and the ...

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