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filed: April 30, 1982.


No. 891 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Criminal Division, at No. 3956 of 1980.


John G. McDougall, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Frank T. Hazel, District Attorney, Media, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Beck, Watkins and Hoffman, JJ. Watkins, J., dissents.

Author: Hoffman

[ 299 Pa. Super. Page 137]

Appellant contends that the juvenile court erred in certifying him to criminal court to stand trial as an adult. Because the record is inadequate to permit our review, we vacate the judgment of sentence and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

[ 299 Pa. Super. Page 138]

A juvenile delinquency petition was filed against appellant alleging that he and two companions had robbed a pizza deliveryboy at rifle-point. The Commonwealth sought to have appellant, then 17 years old, certified to stand trial as an adult in criminal court. Following a certification hearing on July 8, 1980, appellant was certified to criminal court and subsequently convicted of robbery, theft, and conspiracy. The trial court denied appellant's post-trial motions and imposed sentence, prompting this appeal.

Appellant contends that the juvenile court erred in finding him not amenable to treatment, rehabilitation and supervision in the juvenile system.*fn1 Before a juvenile may be transferred to criminal court in a non-capital case, the juvenile court must find that all of the following exist:

(1) The child was 14 or more years of age at the time of the alleged conduct.

(2) A hearing on whether the transfer should be made is held in conformity with this chapter.

(3) Notice in writing of the time, place, and purpose of the hearing is given to the child and his parents, guardian, or other custodian at least three days before the hearing.

(4) The court finds:

(i) that there is a prima facie case that the child committed the delinquent act alleged;

(ii) that the delinquent act would be considered a felony if committed by an adult; and

[ 299 Pa. Super. Page 139]

(iii) that there are reasonable grounds to believe all of the following:

(A) That the child is not amenable to treatment, supervision or rehabilitation as a juvenile through available facilities, even though there may not have been a prior adjudication of delinquency . . . .

(B) That the child is not commitable to an institution for the mentally retarded or mentally ill.

(C) That the interests of the community require that the child be placed under legal restraint or discipline or that the offense is one which would carry a sentence of more than three years if committed as an adult.

42 Pa.C.S.A. ยง 6355(a). A juvenile court need not make a formal statement or findings of fact in order to comply with these requirements. Commonwealth v. Harrod, 260 Pa. Superior Ct. 312, 316, 394 A.2d 567, 570 (1978). "However the court must make a statement of reasons for certification, and this statement 'should be sufficient to demonstrate that . . . the question [of certification] has received the careful consideration of the Juvenile Court; and it must set forth the basis for the order with sufficient specificity to permit meaningful review.'" Commonwealth v. Stokes, 279 Pa. Superior Ct. 361, 367, 421 A.2d 240, 243 (1980) quoting Kent v. United States, 383 U.S. 541, 561, 86 S.Ct. 1045, 1057, 16 L.Ed.2d 84, 97 (1966). Although the juvenile court concluded that appellant was not amenable to "treatment, supervision or rehabilitation," it failed to make any findings of fact or articulate its reasons.*fn2 Because the juvenile court has failed to specify its reasons for finding appellant not amenable, we are unable to properly evaluate its decision. Moreover,

[ 299 Pa. Super. Page 140]

    the only evidence of appellant's amenability was supplied by a Delaware County Juvenile Probation supervisor, who had never spoken with appellant or his parents. Her opinion -- that appellant was not amenable -- was based solely upon her review of appellant's file. The only basis she articulated for her conclusion, was appellant's prior adjudication and probation for punching another youth in the face. Although certainly a factor to be considered, appellant's fisticuffs is insufficient by itself to serve as a basis for transferring appellant to criminal court. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Greiner, 479 Pa. 364, 372, 388 A.2d 698, 702 (1978) (nature of offense only one factor in an amenability determination) rev'g 236 Pa. Superior Ct. 289, 344 A.2d 915 (1975). The witness expressed no other specific reason for her conclusion. Although she indicated that her conclusion was based upon appellant's file, we have no way of knowing what particular factors formed the bases of her opinion. The juvenile court may not abdicate its responsibility to determine a juvenile's amenability. The witness's unsubstantiated opinion does not guarantee that the court has given the "careful consideration" required by Kent. In fact, her testimony showed that she was far from certain of the availability of certain facilities and appellant's amenability to treatment there.*fn3 Because of these deficiencies, "our evaluation of the propriety of the certification is precluded." Commonwealth v. Bey, 249 Pa. Superior Ct. 185, 195, 375 A.2d 1304, 1310 (1977). Accordingly, we must vacate the judgment of sentence and remand for a new certification hearing. If appellant is again certified to criminal court, the judgment of sentence shall be reinstated and a new appeal

[ 299 Pa. Super. Page 141]

    will lie. If appellant is not certified to criminal court, the case shall remain in the juvenile system for disposition.*fn4

So ordered.

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