According to the Scranton police, although violent crimes have decreased in the city, juvenile violent crimes have increased. The most recent juvenile violent crime was the stabbing of a teenage girl by another teenage girl. A sixteen year old girl allegedly got into an argument with an eighteen year old girl on Facebook over a boyfriend. The older teen then went to the younger teen’s house to confront her. The sixteen year old allegedly stabbed the victim in the neck, which resulted in the victim’s death. The sixteen year old has been charged as an adult for the fatal stabbing of the eighteen year old victim. See Scranton Murder News – Teen Faces Serious Charges After Stabbing Another Teen. Police said this is the fourth homicide in Scranton in the past three years.
When Juveniles are Charged as Adults
Per Pennsylvania criminal law, anyone under the age of 18 is considered a child and will be tried in the juvenile court system. The goal of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate the minor. However, criminal homicide is excluded from juvenile law in Pennsylvania. Therefore, any person charged with murder, no matter how young, will be charged as an adult in Pennsylvania.
Even though a juvenile is charged as an adult, the case may be transferred to the juvenile system. The defense lawyer for the juvenile must file a motion seeking the case to be transferred. The judge will look at various factors in order to determine whether the case should be transferred. For instance, the judge will look at:
- how old the juvenile was when the crime was committed,
- what type of crime the child is being charged with,
- the types of sentences,
- treatment available in both the criminal justice system and the juvenile justice system, and
- whether the child is able to be rehabilitated in the juvenile system.
At the hearing, the defense lawyer can present evidence as to why the case should be transferred to the juvenile system. For instance, a juvenile committed murder and is charged as an adult. His defense lawyer presents evidence that the juvenile had a childhood that was marked by abuse and neglect. In addition, the juvenile had a history of mental disease of hearing voices but his family never sought medical treatment for him. The judge in this case may transfer the case to the juvenile system in the best interest of the juvenile.
If convicted as an adult, a juvenile receives an adult sentence and has the same rights as an adult defendant. They may file a direct appeal or PCRA petition.
Scranton Criminal Defense Lawyer
David Nenner is a Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer who handles cases such as homicide, gun possession and drug charges in Philadelphia, Scranton and surrounding suburbs. If you have a question about your case, schedule a FREE consultation with Mr. Nenner. 215.564.0644
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