In the Matter of E.S., 191 N.C. App. 568 (2008)


The superior court erred in its order reversing the district court’s transfer decision because it engaged in a de novo review of the evidence presented at the transfer hearing when, pursuant to G.S. 7B-2603, it was limited to reviewing whether the district court abused its discretion in transferring the case. Petitions alleged the 15-year-old was delinquent for committing first degree rape, first degree kidnapping, felony breaking and entering, and common law conspiracy to commit first degree rape. After finding probable cause the trial court heard testimony from a Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention supervisor, who recommended transfer, and from a former director of a juvenile sex offender treatment program, who believed resources in the juvenile system were available to treat and sanction the juvenile. The trial court’s order stated that transfer was necessary to protect the public, that the court had considered the factors in G.S. 7B-2203(b), and that the case should be transferred because the juvenile would be 16 in three months, a co-defendant was charged as an adult, the juvenile had above average cognitive abilities, the offense was aggressive, violent, and premeditated, and the protection of the public required transfer. The juvenile appealed, and the superior court found that the trial court had abused its discretion in transferring the case, citing evidence that the juvenile had no prior record, that he would benefit from treatment and services in the juvenile system, and that he resided in a stable home with supportive parents. The Court of Appeals held the superior court applied the wrong standard of review, giving some evidence more weight than the district court had and, in effect, substituting its judgment for that of the district court.

Transfer Order
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