Teen stabbing case remains in juvenile court

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Last week, a motion by the prosecution to try a juvenile charged in connection with a 2019 stabbing incident in Waterloo as an “extended jurisdiction juvenile” designation was denied. 

The incident occurred on the Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic School playground on Aug. 24, 2019, shortly before the Waterloo Homecoming parade. The victim was a 14-year-old male. 

In an EJJ prosecution, a trial takes place and if a guilty verdict is reached, the court can impose both juvenile and adult sentences. The defendant will continue to serve the juvenile sentence provided they do not violate it. If a violation occurs, they will then serve the adult sentence. 

Because of last Wednesday’s decision, the case will remain in juvenile court, the defendant’s attorney T.J. Matthes confirmed. 

Matthes’s client was charged as a juvenile with two counts of armed violence and one count of aggravated battery in connection with the incident shortly after it had occurred. 

The presiding judge in this case, Judge Julia Gomric, ruled in October 2019 on the Monroe County State’s Attorney’s motion that the state “failed to prove that the requested transfer to adult court was appropriate,” per court information, and denied both the adult and EJJ prosecution requests.

On Oct. 30, 2019, the Monroe County State’s Attorney’s Office filed with the Fifth District Appellate Court in Mt. Vernon, claiming Judge Gomric did not apply the proper legal standard to the EJJ motion, she assumed that by denying adult status it necessitated EJJ denial.

In a decision delivered this summer by presiding Judge Mark M. Boie with justices  Thomas Welch and Barry Vaughan concurring, the appellate court ruled that “the trial court’s decision conflated two distinct considerations and burdens of proof between the two motions. The trial court was required to treat each motion separately. Because the trial court did not do this with respect to the state’s motion to designate the proceedings as an EJJ prosecution, its denial was an abuse of discretion.”

The appellate court ordered Judge Gomric’s decision reversed, sending it back to Monroe County Circuit Court to reconsider the state’s motion for an EJJ prosecution “under the appropriate legal standard.”

With the prosecution continuing its previously filed motion for EJJ prosecution, the judge ruled Nov. 3 that the case would not be tried as EJJ and would remain in juvenile court.

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