7th Circuit dismisses juvenile’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a juvenile’s appeal of an order that he submit to a psychological examination, finding that the court does not yet have jurisdiction to hear the case.

After allegedly robbing at CVS pharmacy in Indianapolis, one adult and three juveniles, including M.G., were charged with Hobbs Act Robbery and possession of a firearm. The government sought to transfer the juveniles’ case for adult prosecution and moved to have the juveniles examined by government psychologists on the four factors for transfer for adult prosecution under 18 U.S.C. Section 5032.

The juveniles objected to the examinations, arguing that their Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights would be violated because their counsel would not be present during the examinations. A magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted the government’s motion, and Judge William T. Lawrence agreed, prompting M.G. to file an interlocutory appeal in United States of America v. Sealed Defendant Juvenile Male (4), 16-3311.

On appeal, M.G. once again argued that the psychological examination would violate his constitutional rights, but 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Michael Kanne wrote in a Tuesday opinion that the 3rd, 4th and 9th circuits had already rejected similar arguments. However, the 7th Circuit has not yet decided M.G.’s question, Kanne said, but because it did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal, the circuit panel dismissed the case.

“Had M.G. waited to appeal until after the district court had issued an order granting the government’s motion to transfer under 18 U.S.C. section 5032, then we would be able to consider the merits of his argument now,” Kanne wrote. “But M.G. seeks our review at an earlier stage in the transfer process: he argues that the district court’s order requiring him to submit to the government psychologist’s examination – which would provide information that the court would later use to determine whether to grant the transfer order – should also be immediately appealable. We disagree.”

M.G. argued that he would be irreparably harmed if the court did not review his constitutional claims immediately upon appeal, but Kanne wrote the juvenile can raise his claims on immediate appeal if and when the district court grants the government’s motion to transfer for adult prosecution.  Further, the panel noted that if the district court denies the motion to transfer, the government would be prohibited from using any information obtained about M.G. during the psychological exam during subsequent criminal prosecution.

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