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Advocating for young people facing charges as an adult, P.2

In our last post, we began speaking about young people who face the prospect of criminal charges. As we mentioned, in addition to juvenile courts waiving jurisdiction, there are certain types of cases in Maryland where juvenile courts do not have jurisdiction.

These cases include situations where: a minor at least 16 years old is charged with certain traffic violations or certain violent crimes such as abduction, kidnapping, second degree murder, second degree rape, and robbery; a minor at least 14 years old is charged with an offense that could result in life imprisonment or death for an adult offender; and where a minor who was previously convicted as an adult of a felony is charged with an offense that would be a felony for an adult offender. 

In cases where juvenile courts waive jurisdiction where they otherwise have it, a juvenile may be held at an adult detention facility, but certain requirements must be met. First of all, the child must be at least 15 years of age or, if not yet 15, must have been charged with an offense that could lead to life imprisonment or death for an adult offender. Prior to waiving jurisdiction, a juvenile court must hold a hearing on the issue of whether the child is fit for juvenile rehabilitative measures.

For young offenders who face the prospect of having their case transferred over to the criminal justice system, it is important to have an advocate to make sure that doing so is appropriate. This is particularly the case where a juvenile court is seeking to transfer the case by waiver.

In our next post, we'll speak a bit more about the issue of rehabilitation in the juvenile system and how it fits into advocacy work for young offenders.  

Source: Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, "Department of Juvenile Services: Overview of the Youth Charged as Adults Population," December 2012.

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