For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 33

A successful argument in a decertification
hearing will create a picture of a child who
wants to do the right thing and who can be
rehabilitated if given the opportunity. The public
interest is served when the courts do the thing
that is most likely to help a child become a
productive, law-abiding member of society. All of
society benefits when we can help a child learn
to make responsible choices as he or she moves
into adulthood. Any person who is convicted in
criminal court faces significant consequences that
are immediate (upon arrest and conviction) as
well as lifelong (upon release from confinement
and potentially lasting all throughout his or
her lifetime).29 A juvenile, who has little to no
work history and is just beginning to explore
secondary education or career goals, may be
particularly impaired by a criminal conviction.30
A juvenile's future ability to become and remain
a law-abiding citizen may hinge on the ultimate
decision regarding jurisdiction.31
PANTONE

2955C

7406C

42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 6322, 6355.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6302.
10
Pa.R.E. 702. If you do not have a local expert that you
regularly consult with, try reaching out to the psychology
department or the school of education at colleges or
universities to ask for some recommendations.
11
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6338(c).
12
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6355(g)(iv).
8
9

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About the Author
Laura K. McWilliams has
worked at the Allegheny County
Office of the Public Defender
since 2013. She has been involved
in every division of the public
defender's office and has worked
for three years in the juvenile
division.

CMYK

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HEXIDECIMAL

42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 6301 to 6365 (relating to juvenile matters),
amended 1995, Nov. 17, P.L. 1127, No. 33 (Spec. Sess. No.
1), effective in 120 days.
2
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6302.
3
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6322; Pa.R.Crim.P. 596.
4
The concept of the superpredator had a significant
racial component, which this article is not intended
to address. See, e.g, Michelle Alexander, Why Hillary
Clinton Doesn't Deserve the Black Vote, The NaTioN, Feb.
29, 2016, available at https://www.thenation.com/article/
hillary-clinton-does-not-deserve-black-peoples-votes/ (last
accessed July 16, 2019); Priyanka Boghani, They Were
Sentenced As "Superpredators." Who Were They Really?,
May 2, 2017, available at https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/
frontline/article/they-were-sentenced-as-superpredatorswho-were-they-really/ (last accessed July 16, 2019).
5
See John Dilulio, Jr., The Coming of the Super-Predators,
The Weekly STaNdard, November 27, 1995, available at
https://www.weeklystandard.com/john-j-dilulio-jr/thecoming-of-the-super-predators (last accessed July 12,
2019).
6
See VERA Institute of Justice, Juvenile Justice System Still
Grappling with the Legacy of the "Superpredator" Myth,
January 24, 2017, available at https://www.vera.org/blog/
juvenile-justice-systems-still-grappling-with-legacy-of-thesuperpredator-myth (last accessed July 16, 2019).
7
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6322(a). Placing the burden on the juvenile
defendant in this proceeding has been held to be
constitutional. See Commonwealth v. Cotto, 753 A.2d
217, 219 (Pa. 2000). While to the practicing attorney, the
concept of serving "the public interest" may seem vague,
the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has held that the statute
as written is not unconstitutionally vague. Id. at 222.

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Vol. 4, Issue 3

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For The Defense

33


https://www.thenation.com/article/hillary-clinton-does-not-deserve-black-peoples-votes/ https://www.thenation.com/article/hillary-clinton-does-not-deserve-black-peoples-votes/ https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/they-were-sentenced-as-superpredators-who-were-they-reall https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/they-were-sentenced-as-superpredators-who-were-they-reall https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/they-were-sentenced-as-superpredators-who-were-they-reall https://www.weeklystandard.com/john-j-dilulio-jr/the-coming-of-the-super-predators https://www.weeklystandard.com/john-j-dilulio-jr/the-coming-of-the-super-predators https://www.vera.org/blog/juvenile-justice-systems-still-grappling-with-legacy-of-the-superpredator-myth https://www.vera.org/blog/juvenile-justice-systems-still-grappling-with-legacy-of-the-superpredator-myth https://www.vera.org/blog/juvenile-justice-systems-still-grappling-with-legacy-of-the-superpredator-myth http://www.alvarezandmarsal.com/expertise/disputes-investigations

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