Free «Juvenile Competence to Stand Trial» Essay Sample

Juvenile competence to trial is a case whereby the state of Indiana had filed an appeal to the Supreme Court with a request to review the judgment in which the court of appeal had affirmed a trial whereby four juvenile had been subjected to the competency of the adult statute. In this case the state insisted on applying of Parens patriae in order for the juvenile to be considered as not competent to stand the adult statute. The case involved four juvenile who had been convicted of a number of cases. Questioning their competence to face trial, they filed an appeal with the Supreme Court challenging the decision by the court of appeal to have them face full trial (Sirkin, 2005).

In their effort to succeed in the case, the juvenile filed successful motions requesting to have psychiatric assessment conducted unto them in order to determine whether they were competence to stand trial. This was successful, and each of the four juvenile had an evaluation conducted to them by a mental health professional where the trial court further concluded that the juveniles lacked the capacity to understand the proceedings of the court and hence were, not in a position to defend themselves effectively especially in accordance with the adult competency of Indiana statute (Sirkin, 2005).

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One of the Juveniles by the name K.G was 12 year old and had an accusation of sexual battery. After mental evaluation, he was diagnosed with mental retardation which was mild to moderate together with another diagnosis of autism. This was according to Dr. David Posey who was the evaluating psychiatrist at that time. D.G who was 10 years old faced an accusation of child molesting. After the mental evaluation, he was diagnosed of mild mental retardation with some of the symptoms of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The other one was a boy by the name D.C.B who was 11 years old and accused of arson. He received a diagnosis of mental retardation with some possible psychotic disorder. J.J.S was a girl at 13 years old and was accused of burglar and theft. After mental evaluation, she was found with a diagnosis of moderately to mildly cases of mental handicapped with some cases of functionality illiterate. This diagnosis was made by the evaluating psychologist by the name Dr. Paul Aleksic (Sirkin, 2005).

These four juveniles were then placed in the residential treatment centers where they were treated in respect to their mental conditions. It was then in march 2002 when the court issued an order for the juvenile to be committed and be put under the division of mental health for proper management in appropriate psychiatric institutions in the state. This was followed by a request from the state of Indiana through the facilitation of the mental division of the family as well as the social services to have the trial court vacate its order. The court failed to vacate its order on the basis that the division of mental health lacked appropriate facilities for the defendants. The state further made an appeal to the Indiana court of appeal which followed the affirming of the judgment issued by the trial court. This followed a ruling where the supreme court of the Indiana was able to have the judgment issued by the trial court reversed. It was concluded that the juveniles were not to be subjected to be subjected to the adult competency statute. This made the cases be remanded for some further proceeding later on (Sirkin, 2005).

The conclusion was made after the supreme court made a review of the history concerning the juvenile court system paying main focus to the issues regarding parens and Patriae doctrine. This doctrine gave the court an allowance of exercising some parental roles. The court admitted that parens patriae gave the juvenile court some of the powers to be able to exercise the best interest especially concerning the matters to do with the child. The court affirmed that it was in the best interest of the child to have the Parens patriae be exercised on their case. In this case the Parens Patriae was well enacted whereby the court established that the adult guideline never applied to the case of the children and hence had resulted to offering their judgment focusing mainly on the best interest of the child (Sirkin, 2005).


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