01 June 2005

I just watched the darndest thing. There was a 14 year old boy in circuit court pro se on a possession of marijuana charge (on appeal from juvenile court). Everybody in the courtroom was handling the case with kid gloves (although the judge got a little aggravated when the boy asked him if he could talk to his mother about whether he should testify). In the end the kid got 40 hours community service.

5 comments:

Bob said...

That is the same thing he would have received had you represented him.

Ken Lammers said...

I don't know about that. The prosecution's case seemed weak. All the marijuana was found in a different room and it wasn't even the kid's house.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about that. The prosecution's case seemed weak. All the marijuana was found in a different room and it wasn't even the kid's house.

Wow. This starts to sound like a person who once told me with a straight face that zero tolerance was good, because even if they punished people who were innnocent, it would demonstrate seriousness, and do good for both the innocent punished (scare 'em straight, yah), and serve as an example.

That person never quite seemed to understand my arguments about game theory and human nature.

Mister DA said...

Interesting. However, as an appellate attorney, I have to ask - what was the burden of proof in juve court, and do you use juries or just judges/hearing officers to determine responsibility/jurisdiction/whatever (I don't think anyone determines "guilt" in juve court). And what level of deference is imposed on the reviewing court? Or is it treated as a de novo trial/hearing.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Ken Lammers said...

In Virginia juveniles are "adjudicated juvenile delinquents" for having done __________. The circuit court (the trial court over the juvenile court) has trials de novo if a juvenile case is appealed.

Juries can be used in circuit court for fact determination but - unlike adult trials - juries in juvenile cases do not sentence. I came in shortly after the trial had started and didn't see the very beginning but I assume the kid waived jury.

The burden of proof is the same as it is for anyone accused of committing a crime.