On October 23rd, 2014, we updated our
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Status Offenses --acts that when committed by juveniles that are grounds for apprehension and perhaps state custody. Adults would not be charged for these acts. Examples: Smoking, drinking, truancy, curfew violations, running away from home.
Juvenile Delinquency --Illegal acts committed by juveniles. Adults would also be charged for these offenses. Murder, robbery, theft, rape, etc.
Juvenile delinquents seen as "hardened" are more likely to be transferred to adult court.
Some transfers are automatic, depending on the seriousness of the offense.
In Minnesota, juveniles as young as 14 can be tried as adults.
Judges in twenty-four states can do "reverse transfers"--decide to send juveniles transferred to adult court back to juvenile court.
If a person stays in juvenile court, they will go through adjudication instead of arraignment and trial. There are no juries during adjudication. The process is closed to the public.
Instead of sentencing, a juvenile who is determined to be delinquent will go through a disposition hearing.
Potential placements include probation (most common), residential treatment programs, and juvenile corrections facilities--"training schools". These often include aftercare.
When making decisions in disposition hearings, judges primarily consider the needs of the child.
-Placement programs end (In some cases they last until age 21). If still detained by this age, individuals are released.
-Juvenile records are sealed. (Adult records are permanent).
Are individuals competent to stand trial as adults at age 14?
Consider: Juveniles are more impulsive, more likely to engage in risky behavior, and less likely to consider the long-term consequences of their actions. They are also more susceptible to peer pressure than adults and are more likely to be arrested as part of a group.
Even if they can understand the difference between right and wrong, can they adequately understand the legal matters involved in a trial?
Roper vs. Simmons (2005)--the Supreme Court ruled that no person can be executed for a murder they commit while under the age of 18.