Woodliff certifies Cody James as adult in First Degree Murder case
Okmulgee ( OK)Special District Judge Duane Woodliff over-ruled the Reversal Certification of Cody James, 17. He will continue to be charged as an adult on a First Degree Murder charge and three counts of Assault with Intent to Kill. James had been charged by the State as an adult in the shooting death of Rebecca Lynn Johnson, 16, James' pregnant girlfriend. The State is seeking Life without Parole for James.
James had sought that his status as an adult be reversed to a juvenile or a youthful offender. Had Judge Woodliff not over-ruled the Reversal Certification, James would have been admitted to the Lloyd Rader juvenile facility in Tulsa for treatment, until shortly before his 20th birthday. He then could have been "bridged over" to the Department of Corrections for up to 10 years, if the treatment at Rader had not been successful.
Judge Woodliff stated during his analysis of the evidence presented by the State and the Defense, he found the following:
1. Whether the alleged offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated or willful manner?
"Accordingly, the Court finds by a preponderance of the evidence, that Cody James did commit an aggressive, violent, premeditated and willful act of shooting Rebecca Lynn Johnson in the heart with a pistol, causing her death."
2. Whether the alleged offense was against persons, and if personal injury resulted, the degree of personal injury?
"The offenses involved multiple persons, as covered in detail in question #1. Rebecca Lynn Johnson mortally suffered a gunshot wound to her heart by Mr. James shooting her after threatening to kill her. Mr. James also pointed a gun and attempted to discharge it at Randy Luellen; he pointed the gun at Tiffany Johnson (who had her 5-year old child with her) and Rachel Marie Sebree (although he did not attempt to discharge the gun at them)."
3. The record and past history of the accused person, including previous contacts with the law enforcement agencies, and juvenile or criminal courts, prior periods of probation, and commitments to juvenile institutions?
"The Defendant, Cody James, has no previous connections with the juvenile justice system, no juvenile record, and no documented contact with law enforcement agencies."
4. The sophistication and maturity of the accused person and his capability of distinguishing right from wrong as determined by consideration of his psychological evaluation, home, environmental situation, emotional attitude, and pattern of living?
"The evidence shows that Cody James is capable of and does distinguish right from wrong, before, during and after his offense AND THIS COURT SO FINDS.
5. The prospects for adequate protection of the public if the accused person is processed through the Youthful Offender system or the Juvenile system.
"Results of the RSTI indicate that Mr. James falls in the high range (89 percentile) for Risk of Dangerousness when compared to other males in the juvenile justice system.
Therefore, taking all of the above into consideration, the present examiner Dr. John Call, concludes that Mr. Cody James demonstrates a high potential for future dangerousness."
The Court agreed with Dr. Call and accepts his findings and conclusion as the FINDINGS OF THE COURT.
6. The likelihood of reasonable rehabilitation of the accused person if he found to have committed the alleged offense, by the use of procedures and facilities currently available by the Juvenile court?
"This Court finds that he is not reasonably amenable to treatment."
Judge Woodliff advised James' defense attorney, Thomas Stringer and Assistant District Attorneys Jim Volz and Rob Barris, his decision can be appealed to the Oklahoma State Court of Criminal Appeals. The appeal must be filed within 10 days.
After the closure of the Reversal Certification hearing, Judge Woodliff reopened the Preliminary hearing.
Judge Woodliff bound Cody James over for trial after finding there was probable cause to believe Cody James committed a crime in Okmulgee County on July 20, 2004.