Juvenile Crimes: Juveniles entitled to hearing before transfer to state prison

By Maynard & Sumner, LLC of Maynard & Sumner, LLC posted in Juvenile Crimes on Friday, August 31, 2012.

In August 28, 2012, the New Jersey Appellate Division determined that juveniles are entitled to a hearing before they are transferred from a juvenile correctional facility to an adult state prison. The issue at hand was whether juvenile adjudicated delinquent should receive the procedural due process rights before being transferred. New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 52:17B-175(e) permits such transfer under specific circumstances:

[A juvenile] who has reached the age of 16 during confinement and whose continued presence in the juvenile facility threatens the public safety, the safety of juvenile offenders, or the ability of the commission to operate the program in the manner intended.

The prosecution maintained the position that no due process rights of any kind, including notice to be heard, are required. The Appellate Division reversed and remanded the case back to the Camden County Superior Court.

Judge Alexander Waugh Jr., writing for the three-member panel, wrote:

The transfer of a juvenile to an adult prison significantly changes the focus of the incarceration away from rehabilitation and toward security and punishment. For those reasons, we conclude that there must be sufficient level of procedural due process to protect the juvenile’s interests.

The decision arose from the case The State of New Jersey in the Interest of J.J., in which the Juvenile Justice Commission decided to transfer a young man to a state prison without notifying him of the review, and refusing the juvenile the ability to notify his mother of the transfer.

Due to this ruling, the Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) must now conduct a hearing to consider whether the transfer of a juvenile to a state prison is in the best interest of the juvenile and will encourage rehabilitation.

If your child is detained in a juvenile correction facility and the JJC threatens to transfer him or her to the state prison, contact a skilled juvenile crimes lawyer to represent your child in the hearing and who has the best interests of your child.

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