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State v. Hunt

Supreme Court of Nebraska

April 6, 2018

State of Nebraska, appellee,
v.
Keshaud D. Hunt, appellant.

         1. Criminal Law: Courts: Juvenile Courts: Jurisdiction: Appeal and Error. A trial court's denial of a motion to transfer a pending criminal proceeding to the juvenile court is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.

         2. Judgments: Words and Phrases. An abuse of discretion occurs when a trial court's decision is based upon reasons that are untenable or unreasonable or if its action is clearly against justice or conscience, reason, and evidence.

         3. Sentences: Appeal and Error. An appellate court will not disturb a sentence imposed within the statutory limits absent an abuse of discretion by the trial court.

         4. Courts: Juvenile Courts: Jurisdiction. In order to retain proceedings in criminal court, the court need not resolve every statutory factor in favor of transfer against the juvenile, and there are no weighted factors and no prescribed method by which more or less weight is assigned to a specific factor. It is a balancing test by which public protection and societal security are weighed against the practical and non problematical rehabilitation of the juvenile.

         5. Courts: Juvenile Courts: Evidence. Under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-1816(3) (Reissue 2016), after considering the evidence and the criteria set forth in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-276 (Reissue 2016), the court shall transfer the case to juvenile court unless a sound basis exists for retaining the case in county court or district court.

         6. Courts: Juvenile Courts: Judgments. When ruling on a motion to transfer to juvenile court under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-1816(3) (Reissue 2016), the county or district court must set forth findings supporting its decision.

         [299 Neb. 574] 7. Courts: Juvenile Courts: Jurisdiction: Proof. In a motion to transfer to juvenile court, the burden of proving a sound basis for retaining jurisdiction in county court or district court lies with the State.

         8. Courts: Juvenile Courts: Jurisdiction: Evidence. When a district court's basis for retaining jurisdiction over a juvenile is supported by appropriate evidence, it cannot be said that the court abused its discretion in refusing to transfer the case to juvenile court.

         9. Sentences: Appeal and Error. Where a sentence imposed within the statutory limits is alleged on appeal to be excessive, the appellate court must determine whether the sentencing court abused its discretion in considering and applying the relevant factors as well as any applicable legal principles in determining the sentence to be imposed.

         10. Sentences. When imposing a sentence, the sentencing court is to consider the defendant's (1) age, (2) mentality, (3) education and experience, (4) social and cultural background, (5) past criminal record or record of law-abiding conduct, and (6) motivation for the offense, as well as (7) the nature of the offense and (8) the amount of violence involved in the commission of the crime.

         11. ___. Generally, it is within a trial court's discretion to direct that sentences imposed for separate crimes be served either concurrently or consecutively. This is so, even when offenses carry a mandatory minimum sentence, unless the statute requires that consecutive sentences be imposed.

          Appeal from the District Court for Douglas County: Gary B. Randall, Judge. Affirmed.

          James Martin Davis, of Davis Law Office, for appellant.

          Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and Sarah E. Marfisi for appellee.

          Heavican, C.J., Cassel, Stacy, and Funke, JJ., and Pirtle, Judge.

          STACY, J.

         Keshaud D. Hunt was 15 years old when he was charged in district court with multiple felonies arising from two armed robberies. His motion to transfer the case to juvenile court was overruled, and eventually, he pled no contest to an amended information. At the sentencing hearing, the district court denied [299 Neb. 575] Hunt's request for disposition under the Nebraska Juvenile Code[1] and instead imposed consecutive prison sentences. Hunt appeals, assigning error to the denial of his motion to transfer and his request for disposition under the juvenile code. We affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         On April 21, 2016, Hunt was charged with attempted second degree murder, robbery, attempted robbery, and three counts of using a deadly weapon (firearm) to commit a felony. All charges stemmed from events alleged to have occurred on March 16 in Omaha, Nebraska. Hunt was 15 years old at the time, and the charges were filed in the Douglas County District Court.[2]

         Motion to Transfer

         After entering pleas of not guilty to the charges, Hunt moved to transfer the case to juvenile court pursuant to § 29-1816(3). An evidentiary hearing was held on September 8, 2016.

         The State offered two exhibits, both of which were received. The first exhibit was a probable cause affidavit detailing Hunt's alleged crimes and the ensuing investigation. That exhibit showed that on March 16, 2016, around 8:15 p.m., a suspect wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and gray shoes entered a convenience store on South 24th Street in Omaha. He pulled out a black semiautomatic handgun and pointed it at two store employees while demanding money from the cash register. One of the employees pulled out his own handgun and told the suspect to drop his gun. The suspect exclaimed '"don't do it'" and began retreating toward the door. But instead of leaving, the suspect ran back toward the employee, while firing multiple shots from the handgun. One shot grazed the employee's waist. The suspect then fled the scene.

         [299 Neb. 576] Later the same night around 10 o'clock, a suspect wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and gray shoes entered another Omaha convenience store, located on North 72d Street. He approached an unarmed security guard and placed a black semiautomatic handgun to the guard's face. The suspect took approximately $200 from the registers and left the store.

         A Crime Stoppers tip led investigators to Hunt. After speaking with Hunt's juvenile probation officer, police learned that Hunt's electronic tracking device showed he had visited an Omaha grocery store on the evening of March 16, 2016. Video from the grocery store showed Hunt wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and gray shoes with the same markings as the shoes worn in both convenience store robberies. Police also learned that Hunt returned home from the grocery store and cut off his electronic monitoring device around 7:45 p.m. The first convenience store was robbed approximately 30 minutes later.

         The second exhibit was a certified copy of Hunt's juvenile court file. That file showed that in 2015, Hunt was found to be within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247 (Cum. Supp. 2014) as a result of committing multiple armed robberies when he was 14 years old. The juvenile petition alleged that on or about July 28, 2015, Hunt committed the crimes of (1) using a deadly weapon (firearm) to commit a felony, (2) two counts of robbery, (3) two counts of attempted robbery, and (4) two counts of tampering with physical evidence. Hunt eventually admitted to one count of using a deadly weapon (firearm) to commit a felony (a Class IC felony), one count of robbery (a Class II felony), one count of attempted robbery (a Class II felony), and one count of tampering with physical evidence (a Class IV felony). One of the 2015 robberies involved the same convenience store Hunt was accused of robbing in March 2016.

         The juvenile court accepted Hunt's admissions to the 2015 crimes and placed him in "shelter care" under the supervision of juvenile probation pending disposition. On December 22, 2015, Hunt was returned to his mother's home, ordered to wear [299 Neb. 577] an electronic monitoring device and abide by the conditions of the "H.O.M.E." program, and ordered to participate in individual counseling and gang prevention services. On January 25, 2016, the court ordered Hunt to participate in additional counseling and treatment programs ...


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