A court hearing to determine whether a juvenile case should be transferred to adult criminal court in order to try the youth as an adult. Judges making this determination generally consider the nature and seriousness of the offense, the record and previous history of the minor, and the likelihood that the juvenile justice system will reform or rehabilitate the youth. Youth transferred to criminal court are said to be “certified” as adults. Compare with “Decertification.”
The negative results of a juvenile adjudication that compound a punishment directly imposed by the court. Juvenile records and system involvement, for example, may limit a youth’s opportunities to obtain education, health care, housing, and employment. See also “Sex Offender Registration.”
Treatment, services, and/or supervision provided to youth as part of a diversion program or as a condition of probation. The individualized plans utilize services in the youth’s community, rather than in detention or in a secure confinement setting.
A youth’s ability to stand trial, measured by his or her capacity to understand juvenile court proceedings, to consult meaningfully with a lawyer, and to assist in his or her own defense. Evaluation of a youth’s competency is particularly important where a youth is very young, immature, or suffers from a mental health disorder or intellectual disability.
Conditions of Confinement
The quality of living in a particular juvenile detention or secure confinement facility, determined by its physical environment (cleanliness, temperature, light, plumbing, etc.), safety (the absence or prevalence of assaults, sexual abuse, and harmful practices, such as use of excessive force or isolation), and access to health care, education, programming, and visitation.
Consent and Confidentiality
The laws and regulations that govern the age at which youth can legally accept or refuse medical, mental health, or substance abuse treatment, as well as the laws and regulations that govern who can access and share a youth’s treatment records.
A lawyer or team of lawyers who represent a client. Counsel for a juvenile may be privately retained or appointed by the court.
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
A provision in the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution describing a type of penalty a court may not impose on an individual convicted of a crime. The phrase “cruel and unusual punishment” has been interpreted as sanctions that are barbaric, rarely and arbitrarily imposed, and/or disproportionate either to the gravity of the offense or to the culpability of the offender. While this amendment does not apply directly to youth who are adjudicated delinquent, it does apply to youth who are convicted and sentenced as adults. The United States Supreme Court has found, for example, that the death penalty in all cases and a life-without-parole sentence in non-homicide cases constitute cruel and unusual punishment for offenders under the age of 18.
Blameworthiness. Nearly all crimes are defined both by the particularity of the harmful behavior and how much blame one can assign to the offender. Culpability applies to children and adolescents in two ways. First, juveniles may be found to be not blameworthy for their actions due to youth, immaturity, a mental health disorder, or an intellectual disability. Second, the United States Supreme Court recognizes that, as a class of offenders, juveniles are not as culpable for their actions as adults and therefore cannot be subjected to the most severe punishments reserved for the worst criminal offenders.
Children’s use of information and communication technologies such as text messages, emails, and social media like Facebook and Twitter to engage in harassment, threats, intimidation, and/or other verbal and emotional abuse. Like other forms of bullying, cyber-bullying often involves an imbalance of power and may be persistently directed toward a particular victim or target. Similar behavior between adults is generally referred to as cyber-harassment or cyber-stalking.