State v. Highland

In State v. Highland, 174 W. Va. 525, 327 S.E.2d 703 (1985), the Court examined West Virginia Code 49-5-16(b) and recognized that "the transfer decision and the modification decision are distinctly separate matters." 174 W. Va. at 529, 327 S.E.2d at 706. "The 1982 provision relating to reconsideration and modification of a sentence only becomes applicable where a transfer is to take place, and has no direct relevance to the question of the appropriateness of the transfer." Id. at 529, 327 S.E.2d at 707. "The sole object of the amendment was a requirement for pre-transfer hearings to reconsider already imposed sentences." Id. at 530, 327 S.E.2d at 708 n.5. Highland specified the "prerequisites to a lawful transfer of an individual sentenced in adult court but initially committed to a juvenile facility." 174 W. Va. at 531, 327 S.E.2d at 708. The Court explained that "the sentencing court must hold a hearing prior to the approved transfer to evaluate the individual's progress toward rehabilitation and consider modification of the originally imposed sentence." Id. In addressing issues of possible reconsideration and modification of the sentence, the lower court "is obligated to make specific findings upon the record which relate its final decision to the weight accorded 'all records and relevant information relating to the child's rehabilitation since his conviction under the adult jurisdiction of the court.' West Virginia Code 49-5-16(b) (1984 Supp.)." Id. at 530, 327 S.E.2d at 708.