For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 47

system for youthful offenders. Since 2000, this
facility has been the SCI-Pine Grove Young Adult
Offender Program. At times, prosecutors will
subpoena an SCI-Pine Grove representative to
testfy about the services and programs offered
at the prison. For the motion of decertification
to be successful, the expert must convince the
judge that the Young Adult Offender Program
will be inadequate in protecting the public from
future violent acts by this particular teen, when
compared to the more individualized treatment
s/he can receive within the juvenile justice system.
Once the decertification hearing is held, the judge
has twenty days to make a decision to decertify
the case. If an order is not issued, the motion is
automatically denied by law.

The Issues of Lack of Immunity and the
Presumption of Guilt
The Juvenile Act provides, "No statements,
admissions or confessions made by or incriminating
information obtained from a child in the course
of a screening or assessment that is undertaken
in conjunction with any proceedings under this
chapter, including, but not limited to, that which
is court ordered, shall be admitted into evidence
against the child on the issue of whether the child
committed a delinquent act under this chapter or
on the issue of guilt in any criminal proceeding."4
Some defense counsel may argue that Section
6338 provides immunity for the statements made
to a psychiatrist or psychologist during assessments
made in conjunction with transfer proceedings
under 42 Pa.C.S.A. ยง 6322. The language of Section
6338 indicates that such statements shall not
be admitted into evidence of whether the child
committed a delinquent act under the Juvenile
Act, or against the child on the issue of guilt in any
criminal proceeding.
Others may argue that the scope of the Juvenile
Act is limited to matters within the Juvenile Court
jurisdiction. And, a proceeding to transfer from
criminal to juvenile court does not, therefore,
invoke the Juvenile Act (or any of its provisions)
until after a case has been transferred to the
juvenile court.
Because of this apparent uncertainty over
whether statements of admission to an expert are
immune at trial if the client were not decertified,
a defense attorney must decide whether s/he

wants the evaluator to ask questions regarding the
offense during client interviews, particularly when
evidence of participation is circumstantial, based
solely upon eyewitness identification, "snitching"
co-defendants, and no client admission to police or
others has occurred.
When it comes to the issue of decertification,
there is seemingly a "presumption of guilt" when
the teen enters the courtroom. Thus, whenever a
youngster claims to be innocent, a prosecutor will
often argue to the court that no juvenile treatment
interventions can ever be successful since the
defendant shows no remorse and takes no
responsibility for his/her actions. The case of J. B.,
an eleven-year-old from Lawrence County charged
with the murder of his father's girlfriend who
was ultimately exonerated by the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court seven years after the offense, is one
of the best-known recent examples of such a case.5
In a decertification case in which the client is
denying the charges (and may well be innocent),
a defense attorney should expect the evaluator
to combat the "no remorse, no accountability or
responsibility" argument, especially when the
client charged has several years remaining prior to
the expiration of juvenile court jurisdiction at age
twenty-one.
For example, sexual offenders very frequently
maintain their innocence prior to courtroom
adjudication, and then admit to their offenses
months later once a trusting, therapeutic
relationship has been established with them
and their family members by skilled individual
and family therapists. Rarely, if ever, will any
individualized therapy occur in state correctional
treatment programs. In cases where guilt and
shame may play a role in the youth's denial of
the offense, effective arguments can be made
to persuade the court that the individualized,
therapeutic treatment available within the juvenile
justice system is far preferable for both the juvenile
and society in the long run.

Conclusion
A defense attorney involved in a decertification
case needs to believe that adolescence is a
time when interventions at both the individual
and societal levels can be used to redirect and
remediate maladaptation in brain structure and
behavior from earlier developmental periods not
Vol. 4, Issue 4

l

For The Defense

47



For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4

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

Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 1
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 2
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 4
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 5
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 6
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 7
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 8
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 9
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 10
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 11
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 12
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 13
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 14
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 15
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 16
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 17
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 18
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 19
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 20
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 21
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 22
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 23
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 24
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 25
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 26
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 27
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 28
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 29
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 30
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 31
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 32
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 33
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 34
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 35
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 36
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 37
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 38
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 39
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 40
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 41
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 42
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 43
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 44
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 45
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 46
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 47
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 48
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 49
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 50
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 51
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 52
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 53
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 54
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 55
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 56
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 57
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 58
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol6_issue1_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue4_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue3_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue2_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue1_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue4_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue3_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue2_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue1_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue4_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue3_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue2_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue1_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue4_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue3_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue2_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue1_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue4_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue3_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue2_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue1_2016
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com