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ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS

In this mandamus proceeding, we consider whether the juvenile court abused its discretion when it did not obtain a complete diagnostic evaluation of a juvenile prior to a hearing to transfer the juvenile to adult criminal court. The Family Code mandates a “complete diagnostic study,” and the psychologist who performed this report emphasized it was incomplete. We hold the trial court abused its discretion, a determination the State does not dispute, and we conditionally grant the petition for writ of mandamus.

B.T. is a 17-year-old charged with murdering his teacher. In 2009, the State filed a petition for discretionary transfer urging the juvenile court to order B.T. tried as an adult. Under Family Code Section 54.02(a), the “juvenile court may waive its exclusive original jurisdiction and transfer a child to the appropriate district court or criminal district court for criminal proceedings if” certain conditions are met. Section 54.02(a)(3) authorizes transfer to criminal court if, among other requirements, the juvenile court determines “after a full investigation and a hearing” that there is probable cause to believe the child committed the alleged offense and “because of the seriousness of the offense alleged or the background of the child the welfare of the community requires criminal proceedings.” Section 54.02(d) provides that “[p]rior to the hearing, the juvenile court shall order and obtain a complete diagnostic study, social evaluation, and full investigation of the child, his circumstances, and the circumstances of the alleged offense.” Section 54.02(f) provides that the juvenile court, in making the transfer decision, shall consider several factors, including “the sophistication and maturity of the child,” “the record and previous history of the child,” and “the prospects of adequate protection of the public and the likelihood of the rehabilitation of the child by use of procedures, services, and facilities currently available to the juvenile court.”

 
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