For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 48

just in some teens, but in all teens, regardless of the
prior behavioral history.
We now know through scientific research that a
person's brain is extremely malleable and capable of
modification through the development of additional
neural pathways into the mid-twenties.6 Thus,
since the teen's life course history can be changed
for better or for worse, depending upon future
interventions provided, it behooves all attorneys
and practitioners to fight as zealously as possible
for cases to be transferred from criminal court to
juvenile court, where the most comprehensive,
individualized treatment interventions can occur. We
should all expect nothing less, including prosecutors,
judges and crime victims.
The crime itself should not drive the decisionmaking process. The question that must be asked
is, simply, "Is there sufficient time for the treatment
changes to be implemented and to take effect,
knowing that change can occur?" Time is of the
essence.
PANTONE

2955C

7406C

CMYK

NOTES:

90/78/39/30

9/22/91/0

RGB

Thomas Grisso, Forensic Evaluation of Juveniles 26 (1998).
The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity For All
Youth (The National Academies Press) (2019), https://doi.
org/10.17226/25388.
3
234 Pa.R.Crim.P. 596.
4
42 Pa. C.S.A. ยง 6338(C)(1).
1

22/58/92

234/194/56

HEXIDECIMAL

2

#153A5B

48

For The Defense

l

The case of J. B. was ultimately dismissed by the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court on July 18, 2018, based upon "insufficiency
of the evidence," nine years after the offense occurred. See,
No. 31 WAP 2017 In the Interest of J.B., on appeal from the
Order of the Superior Court entered September 1, 2016
at No. 980 WDA 2015, affirming the Order of the Court of
Common Pleas of Lawrence County entered May 18, 2012 at
No. 113 of 2011, JUV.
6
The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity For All Youth 91
(2019), https://doi.org/10.17226/25388.
5

About the Author
Randolph Matuscak a
forensic social worker who
obtained his Master's Degree
in Social Work from the
University of Pittsburgh in
1984, has been testifying as a
self-employed expert witness
in decertification cases in
Pennsylvania since 1997. He has conducted over
450 evaluations, including 30 involving juveniles
charged with homicide. Mr. Matuscak has been a
member of the National Organization of Forensic
Social Work since 2001.

#EAC137

Vol. 4, Issue 4

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