For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 32

are not responsible for the crimes they commit;
it simply suggests that their actions should
be considered within the parameters of their
immature brains. Children, because their brains
are still developing, have an ability to change
and be rehabilitated if provided with the proper
opportunities and guidance. The adult criminal
justice system was not developed and is not
equipped to provide this guidance to juveniles.
Because juvenile brains have not yet fully
matured, "[j]uveniles are more capable of change
than are adults, and their actions are less likely to
be evidence of "irretrievably depraved character"
than are the actions of adults."19 Indeed, it is
the very immaturity of children's brains and the
ability to use that immaturity to correct behaviors
that forms the basis of the juvenile justice
system.20
Multiple studies have shown that juveniles
who remain in the adult system tend to have
worse outcomes than those who are transferred
to the juvenile system. Juveniles who are
processed through the adult system tend to place
the community at greater risk in the future.21
Policies that place juveniles in the adult system
have been shown to do more harm than good,
leading to increased subsequent arrests and,
perhaps, an increased propensity for committing
violent crimes. The court must consider the factor
of threat to the public posed by the child.22
Statistically, the threat to the public has been
shown to increase when juveniles are processed
through the adult system.
In the right circumstances, urging the court
to consider a societal obligation to a juvenile
can be effective. While Act 33 changed the focus
of the juvenile system to include the primacy
of the public interest, Act 33 did not eliminate
the interest of the juvenile offender in the
proceedings. The Act simply mandated that
juvenile court judges (and, by extension, criminal
judges hearing decertification petitions under Act
33), must consider the interests of crime victims,
communities, and offenders in all proceedings
in order to protect the public interest. No one
party is to benefit at the expense of the other
two.23 With the passage of Act 33, "the juvenile
justice system was tasked to equally address
community protection, victim restoration through
accountability, and youth redemption through

32

For The Defense

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Vol. 4, Issue 3

competency development. [...] [Y]outh redemption
embodies the belief that the vast majority of
juvenile offenders are capable of change and
have strengths upon which treatment services
can build through competency development."24
Finally, from a policy standpoint, the United States
Supreme Court has noted on multiple occasions
that the possibility of adult punishment does not
have a deterrent effect on juveniles.25 It cannot be
presumed that the juvenile was able to consider
possible adult consequences when making the
decision to commit the present criminal offense.

Last Thoughts
If the worst happens and your petition is
denied, that decision is appealable. While the
Commonwealth has the right to an immediate
appeal of a decision to transfer jurisdiction to
juvenile court, the juvenile does not have the same
immediate right to appeal a denial of transfer.26
However, be aware that the denial of a petition
to transfer jurisdiction may later be appealed
even if your client enters a plea in criminal court.27
The standard of review on appeal is abuse of
discretion.28


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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3

Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 1
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 2
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 4
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 5
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 6
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 7
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 8
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 9
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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 11
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 12
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 13
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 14
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 15
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 16
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 17
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 18
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 19
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 20
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 21
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 22
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 23
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 24
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 25
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 26
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 27
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 28
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 29
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 30
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 31
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 32
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 33
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 34
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 35
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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 54
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