Student Charged in Assault to Be Tried as Adult
In a rare move, the case of a teenager charged with stabbing a school resource officer at Union Pines High School last October has been transferred to Superior Court.
A transfer hearing was held Jan. 10 in Juvenile Court for Andrew Tinney, a 15-year-old Union Pines student charged with stabbing school resource officer Steve Clark in the back Oct. 18, 2011, according to Moore County District Attorney Maureen Krueger.
Clark happened to be wearing life-saving body armor at the time.
Krueger said that the state can seek to transfer juveniles to Superior Court for trial as an adult if they are over 13 and a court finds probable cause they committed a felony.
“Transfer hearings are relatively rare,” she said. “According to the most current statistics from the North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, only two other juveniles were transferred to Superior Court between 2006-2010.”
During the transfer hearing, the court consider factors such as the juvenile’s age, maturity, intellectual functioning and prior record; prior attempts to rehabilitate the juvenile; whether the alleged offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated or willful manner; and the seriousness of the offense and whether the protection of the public requires that the juvenile be prosecuted as an adult, according to Krueger.
Other factors include facilities or programs available to the court prior to the expiration of the court’s jurisdiction and the likelihood that the juvenile would benefit from treatment or rehabilitative efforts, she said.
District Court Judge Lee Gavin presided over Tinney’s hearing. Attorney Gary Morris represented Tinney. Krueger and Assistant District Attorney Tiffany Bartholomew appeared for the state.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Gavin ordered Tinney’s case be transferred to Superior Court for trial as an adult. Gavin set a secure bond of $100,000.
If Tinney makes the bond, he also will be subject to electronic house arrest and is banned from the property of any Moore County schools. Tinney will be held in a juvenile “hold-over” facility.
Tinney’s attorney appealed the ruling.
Krueger said her office goes beyond statutory requirements when juveniles are involved.
“We also make it a practice to consider whether or not we would be seeking transfer if we were operating under a juvenile system that includes juveniles through the age of 18,” she said. “From past experiences, I can say that normally we only seek transfer if the juvenile already has felony charges pending in adult court. That is not the case here, but that scenario is usually the most frequent reason we seek transfer.”
Mitigation specialist Becky Carlson has been working on Tinney’s case, another unusual factor, according to Krueger.
“As far as I know, this is the first time a mitigation specialist has ever been appointed in a juvenile case,” Krueger said. “Her work will continue on through Superior Court.”
Contact John Chappell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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