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CRM 1-499

57. Step 5—Prepare Memorandum in Support of a Motion to Transfer a Juvenile to Adult Status

If you have decided to seek adult prosecution of the juvenile, you will need to file with the district court a memorandum in support of a transfer to adult status. If you decide to use federal juvenile delinquency proceedings, go directly to the next step.

You should review carefully the juvenile's actual role in the federal offenses which are transferable, as well as any prior criminal history. The memorandum in support of the transfer motion should address the factors that the court is required to consider in assessing whether a transfer would be in the interest of justice. These factors, set forth in 18 U.S.C. §  5032, include:

the age and social background of the juvenile. the nature of the alleged offense; the extent and nature of the juvenile's prior delinquency record; the juvenile's present intellectual development and psychological maturity; the nature of past treatment efforts and the juvenile's response to such efforts; the availability of programs designed to treat the juvenile's behavioral problems.

An additional factor was added by the 1994 crime bill: "In considering the nature of the offense, ... the court shall consider the extent to which the juvenile played a leadership role in an organization, or otherwise influenced other persons to take part in criminal activities, involving the use or distribution of controlled substances or firearms." If the juvenile is found to have played such a role, that fact shall weigh in favor of a transfer to adult status, but the absence of this factor shall not preclude such a transfer.

Organizing the arguments which support a motion to transfer the juvenile to adult status serves several purposes. It can serve as the body of both your request to the United States Attorney for authorization to file the transfer motion, and it can later serve as the first draft of your district court transfer motion. It also will give the United States Attorney and other DOJ attorneys with whom you may consult familiarity with your position so they can suggest other potential arguments for your motion or identify problems not already addressed.

Advance preparation of the memorandum also may assist you if the juvenile is held in custody and you are operating under short deadlines, or if you decide to obtain transfer authorization ahead of time so that you can file simultaneously all your initial documents with the court (juvenile complaint or information, certification, motion to transfer and memorandum in support thereof, and draft transfer order) in order to expedite the judicial transfer decision.

Knowing the likely success of your motion also may assist you in negotiating with defense counsel. For instance, it may be advantageous to forego (or withdraw) the transfer request in return for cooperation from the juvenile, or to suggest that the juvenile voluntarily request that he be treated as an adult and provide "substantial assistance" in support of a downward departure under U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1. NOTE: A request by a juvenile to be proceeded against as an adult must be made in writing with the advice of counsel. 18 U.S.C. § 5032.

[cited in Criminal Resource Manual 48]