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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76726 Find in a Library
Title: Transfer of Juveniles to Criminal Jurisdiction - State V M M
Journal: West Virginia Law Review  Volume:82  Dated:(Spring 1980)  Pages:687-702
Author(s): L Gay
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 16
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the impact of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruling in State v. M.M. on standards of review regarding juvenile waiver and qualifications for expert witnesses on juvenile rehabilitation.
Abstract: The West Virginia Court of Appeals reversed an order issued by a circuit court to transfer a 16-year-old youth charged with armed robbery and assaulting a law enforcement officer to the adult court on the grounds that the State failed to prove that the child was not amenable to rehabilitation through the juvenile justice system and that prosecution witnesses were not experts in assessing treatment prospects. Because the crime was committed in 1977, the appeal was decided on the 1977 waiver statute which was revised by the legislature in 1978. The revised law permits juveniles to be tried as adults in a broader range of situations, depending on the offense and previous criminal activity. Both statutes list the same factors that the court must evaluate in rendering a transfer decision, but the 1978 law provides that a hearing must be held within 7 days after the transfer motion is filed and that an investigation cannot be initiated until the jurisdictional decision is made. The State v. M.M. ruling stipulated that the court should not limit its inquiry to juvenile rehabilitative facilities within the State. Evidence regarding the juvenile's rehabilitative potential would not have been necessary under the 1978 statute because the youth was charged with armed robbery, one of the six felonies which justify waiver without further inquiry once the child's background and probable cause are considered. In State v. M.M., the court decided that the county sheriff, the State trooper who arrested the child, and the juvenile probation worker assigned to the case were not experts on juvenile rehabilitation. Qualifications for an expert witness were delineated as significant skill and knowledge of the youth's background, and familiarity with treatment alternatives. In all cases other than those involving the six felonies specified in the revised transfer statute, the court must base its decision on the type and amount of evidence sanctioned in State v. M.M. regarding the offender's treatment prospects. Over 60 footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Expert witnesses; Judicial decisions; Juvenile court waiver; Laws and Statutes; West Virginia
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