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In re I.H.

August 13, 1997

(JUVENILE I.H., JR., APPELLANT)


On Appeal From the District Court the Virgin Islands

(Division of St. Thomas and St. John) (D.C.CRIM.. Nos. 96-86 and 96-91)

Before: SCIRICA, NYGAARD and McKEE, Circuit Judges.

McKEE, Circuit Judge.

Filed August 13, 1997

IMPOUNDED

Argued: December 10, 1996

Filed August 13, 1997

OPINION OF THE COURT

I.H., a juvenile male, appeals from the district court's order transferring him from juvenile to adult status for criminal prosecution pursuant to Section 5302 of the Juvenile Delinquency Act ("JDA"), 18 U.S.C. Section(s) 5032. I.H. contends that the district court did not have jurisdiction over the transfer procedure, and that the district court's factual findings were insufficient to support its decision to transfer him. We agree that the district court lacked jurisdiction to begin the transfer procedure. *fn1 Therefore, it is not necessary to reach the sufficiency of the court's factual findings.

I.

I.H. was born on November 6, 1978. On October 18, 1995, when I.H. was 16 years old, he, and two adults, Duncan Connor, Jr., and David Thompson, kidnaped at gunpoint Leslie and David Kalov by forcibly taking control of their car and driving them to Little Magens Bay, St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands. I.H. was armed with a handgun, and sat in the back seat of the car with the gun trained on the Kalovs who were seated next to him. I.H. fired one shot during the incident but neither of the Kalovs was hit, although the car's windshield was shattered. After arriving at Little Magens Bay, I.H. and the two adult perpetrators robbed the Kalovs, then raped and sodomized Leslie Kalov.

About four weeks later, on November 15, 1995, I.H., who had just turned seventeen years old, committed an armed robbery of the Emerald Lady jewelry store on St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands with an accomplice. I.H. was subsequently identified as the leader of the duo who first entered the store and brandished a gun in the face of the store's employees. The accomplice was still at large when this appeal was taken.

On March 18, 1996, I.H. was arrested and charged by information with carjacking in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section(s) 2119, and with the local offense of aggravated rape in violation of 14 V.I.C. Section(s) 1700(c). *fn2 Three days later, on March 21, 1996, I.H., was arrested for the November 15, 1995, armed robbery of the jewelry store and charged with a Hobbs Act violation pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section(s) 1951, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section(s) 924(c)(1). He was also charged with local offenses, including armed robbery and first degree assault in violation of 14 V.I.C. Section(s) 1862(2) and 295, respectively.

On March 29, 1996, the United States Attorney filed a petition pursuant to Section 5302 of the JDA to transfer the carjacking and aggravated rape charges to the federal district court in order to prosecute I.H. as an adult. On April 3, 1996, a similar Section(s) 5302 petition was filed in the Hobbs Act and armed robbery case. The district court held hearings on both petitions on April 4 and 11, 1996, and on August 30, 1996, ...


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