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UNITED STATES v. CAVINESS

March 18, 1965

UNITED STATES
v.
Jimmy W. CAVINESS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PINE

This case was assigned to me for trial on January 26, 1965. When it was called, defendant verbally moved that I 'convene as a Juvenile Court.' *fn1"

His counsel urged at the beginning of protracted argument that the Juvenile Court had not conducted the 'full investigation' required by the statute prior to waiver, and that therefore the waiver was invalid. *fn1" However, as the argument progressed, it broadened into other areas of alleged invalidity. That this Court is the proper forum to determine the question of claimed invalidity has been determined by the United States Court of Appeals for this Circuit. *fn2" According to defendant's contention, this invalidity, if established, requires that I either convene as a Juvenile Court or dismiss the indictment and 'remand' the case back to the Juvenile Court for further consideration. But both he and government counsel agreed, however, that it is doubtful whether I have the legal authority to remand under the ruling in Pee v. United States, 107 U.S.App.D.C. 47, 274 F.2d 556 (1959). On this latter point I agree with counsel. Therefore I conclude that if I find the waiver to he invalid I have only authority to convene as a Juvenile Court or order defendant for trial in the District, and that if I find the waiver to be valid, I likewise may only convene as a Juvenile Court or may order him for trial in this Court. *fn2" and *fn3"

 It appears from the file that on July 7, 1964, Honorable Morris Miller, Chief Judge of the Juvenile Court of the District of Columbia, caused to be filed in this Court a paper writing waiving jurisdiction over defendant and ordering him to be held for trial under the regular procedure of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for the offense of assault with a dangerous weapon allegedly committed on June 13, 1964, in the vicinity of the recreation room of the National Training School for Boys, the complainant being Stanley L. Gallin.

 On the same day, a complaint was filed by Stanley L. Gallin before the United States Commissioner, and a hearing was held thereon at which defendant was informed of the complaint and of his right to have a preliminary hearing and to retain counsel. He was further advised that he was not required to make a statement; that any statement made by him might be used against him, and that he had the right to cross examine witnesses against him and introduce evidence in his own behalf. It further appears from the record of the proceedings before the Commissioner that defendant requested a hearing, at the conclusion of which the Commissioner found probable cause and defendant was held to answer in the United States District Court.

 Thereafter, defendant was indicted in a two count indictment, charging in count one, an assault on Stanley L. Gallin, an officer and employee of the Department of Justice, namely, a senior correctional officer, while he was engaged in the performance of his official duties, and in count two an assault upon Stanley L. Gallin with a dangerous weapon, namely, a telephone receiver.

 Counsel was thereupon appointed to represent defendant, and on his motion defendant was committed to Saint Elizabeths Hospital for a mental examination and report to this Court. Pursuant to that order defendant was committed to the Hospital, following which the Acting Superintendent certified in writing that it was 'our' opinion that defendant was mentally competent for trial; that on the date of the alleged assault he was suffering from a 'personality trait disturbance, emotionally unstable personality,' and that they were unable to render a valid opinion as to productivity. Thereafter, and order was signed by another Judge of this Court in which it was found that defendant was mentally competent to stand trial. This order was approved by counsel for defendant. Thereupon the case was assigned to me for trial, preceding which the motion now before me for consideration was made, as above stated.

 After hearing argument thereon, I ordered that the case be referred back to the Juvenile Court to 'reconsider, in the light of the subsequent findings of the psychiatric staff of Saint Elizabeths Hospital * * *, whether its waiver of juvenile jurisdiction is proper, and whether its jurisdiction should be reassumed.' The motion for me to convene as a Juvenile Court was held in abeyance pending a report from the Juvenile Court on this question.

 In response I received a communication dated February 7, 1965 from the Chief Judge of the Juvenile Court in which he interpreted Pee v. United States, supra, and other decisions therein set forth to mean that the question 'whether the waived juvenile should be treated as a juvenile is a matter which the United States District Court may determine by an examination of the social files,' and stated that in his opinion, the Juvenile Court 'irrevocably surrendered' its jurisdiction over the offense with which the defendant was charged when it waived his case to the United States District Court. He further added that the waiver was made after the 'full investigation' required by the statute, but that he had reviewed the file since receipt of my order and that even if the Court should reassume jurisdiction, which he believed it could not do, he saw no reason to modify his earlier action. Finally, he took the position 'that a reconsideration of the waiver of jurisdiction * * * is neither warranted nor authorized by law.'

 I replied to this letter from the Chief Judge on February 23, 1965, in which I stated, among other things, that I was aware of the Pee case on which he relied and 'had no intention of 'remanding' this case to his court, but only ordered that it be 'referred back' to give it an opportunity to reconsider in the light of the subsequent findings of the psychiatric staff of Saint Elizabeths Hospital whether its waiver of juvenile jurisdiction was proper and whether its jurisdiction should be reassumed." (Italics supplied.) I further stated that my thought and belief were that the Juvenile Court would have authority, if it felt justified in so doing in the light of additional information, to reconsider and vacate its prior waiver, that I felt that the Juvenile Court might wish to take a 'second look' and, if the facts justified it, to undo a previous decision if in the light of further evidence it was found to be erroneous. With this view Chief Judge Miller apparently disagrees. I further advised him that I would proceed in due course to hear the motion held in abeyance and that I would ask that the social files be made available for my consideration.

 Subsequently, the motion to 'convene as a juvenile court' again came on before me for consideration, at which time the testimony of one witness was offered, hereinafter referred to, and further argument was heard. The Motion was adjourned again, and further opportunity was given the Government to provide any additional evidence which it desired to submit as to what, if any, 'standards' or 'criteria' were employed in making the decision to waive jurisdiction to this Court, and as to what facilities were available to the Juvenile Court for treatment of mental disorders. Several days later counsel for both sides and defendant again appeared before me, and government counsel stated that it had no further evidence, and rested on what had been submitted, namely the social records. which were previously obtained for me by subpoena, and the testimony of Louis Levathes, Executive Director of the Juvenile Court. The Court supplied counsel for the defendant and the Government with the social records for their perusal and for use in assisting the Court in determining the issues in the case, and the Motion was submitted. So much for the procedural posture of the case.

 I shall now proceed to a discussion of the Motion. Section 11-1553, supra, provides that if a child sixteen years of age or older is charged with an offense which if committed by a person eighteen years of age or over is a felony, the Juvenile Court Judge 'may, after full investigation, waive jurisdiction.' (Italics supplied) The first question before me involves the meaning of the term 'full investigation,' which defendant contends was not made in this case.

 Turning to the case law on the subject, the Court of Appeals in 1959 in United States v. Dickerson, 106 U.S.App.D.C. 221, 271 F.2d 487 (1959), held that the 'full investigation' which § 11-914 (now 11-1553) requires before the Juvenile Court can waive jurisdiction includes informal hearings as provided for in § 11-915 (now 16-2307, 2308)'. (Italics supplied.) Sec. 16-2307 is the section of the Code providing that the Juvenile Court may conduct the hearings before it in an informal manner and that the general public shall be excluded.

 In 1960 in Wilhite v. United States, 108 U.S.App.D.C. 279, 281 F.2d 642 (1960), where the claim was made that the Juvenile Court failed to conduct a 'full investigation', the Court stated that 'no formal hearing is required on a waiver of jurisdiction to the District Court', (italics supplied), and that the 'investigation called for by the statute is an administrative process within the Juvenile Court,' which 'conducts such ...


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