Tuesday, April 28, 2015

When can a juvenile be tried as an adult?

This blog is ADVERTISING MATERIAL for Charles R. Samuels, Attorney at Law, PLLC  4908 Monument Ave., Ste. 100, Richmond, VA 23230; 804-342-1995


Last year the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on a 11 year old charged with robbery would not be tried as an adult.  In Virginia there are a couple of laws that address whether or not a juvenile will be tried as a juvenile or adult. When a child will be tried as an adult, it is called a "transfer" because the child is being transferred from the juvenile system to the adult system.


The primary law is Virginia Code section 16.1-269.1. It outlines three types of transfer. It is important to note that children must be at least 14 years old at the time they are alleged to have committed a crime before they can even be considered to be tried as an adult.
Section A, B & C Transfers
Section A transfers begin when the Commonwealth Attorney files a motion with the Juvenile Court indicating they plan to try the child as an adult. The child must be alleged to have committed any felony and there must be a hearing regarding the proposed transfer. The judge decides, after hearing from both the Commonwealth and the defense, whether the child shall be tried as an adult. In determining whether the child should be treated as a child in the juvenile system or as an adult, the judge considers many factors including, the juvenile's age, the seriousness and number of the offenses, the criminal record of the child, "the extent, if any, of the juvenile's degree of intellectual disability or mental illness", the juvenile's school record, mental and emotional maturity, and his physical condition and maturity.
In Section A transfers the judge can keep the child in the juvenile system.
Section B transfers occur when the child is charged with specific types of murder or aggravated malicious wounding. The judge does not have the authority to prevent the transfer of the child to the adult system. All the judge can do it determine whether or not there is a preponderance of the evidence that the child committed the alleged crime.
Section C transfers include a litany of charges that could cause a child to be tried as an adult if the Commonwealth Attorney files motion indicating their intention to have the child tried as an adult.
If, after a preliminary hearing, the judge determines there is probable cause to believe the child committed the crime, the judge has to certify the charge and transfer the case to the adult system. If the judge determines there is not probable cause or if the petition is dismissed in the juvenile court after the hearing, then the case could remain in the juvenile court. However, the Commonwealth Attorney can then directly indict the child in the circuit court.
Charles R. Samuels is an attorney in Richmond, Virginia, practicing criminal, family & disability law.  He may be reached at 804-342-1995 x302.


ADVERTISING MATERIAL - Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case.  Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by the lawyer.

Monday, April 27, 2015

"Law Enforcement - Leashed"

From the Times Dispatch:

Two years ago the Supreme Court put excessive faith in the alleged expertise of drug-sniffing dogs as a group. In a case in which a drug-detection dog “alerted” for one drug, but police found another, the High Court said police departments don’t need to demonstrate the reliability and accuracy of individual drug dogs.

Now the justices have made partial amends for that mistake by ruling that law-enforcement officers may not detain a motorist for the sole purpose of bringing a drug dog to the scene of a traffic stop. Once the officer has finished dealing with the matter that caused the stop (say, running a red light), then the stop is supposed to conclude and the motorist should be allowed to go on his or her way.

Once upon a time, conservatives would have decried such a ruling as an affront to law, order and perhaps even civilization itself. But the increasing militarization of law enforcement, along with several recent high-profile deaths at the hands of police officers, is leading many to reconsider their views. And why not? If you believe in limited government, and recognize that the police are a part of the government, then it stands to reason they should operate within limits, too.