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Adolescent Legal Competence in Court

Published Jan 1, 2009, MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice

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This brief details findings from the first comprehensive assessment of juvenile capacities to participate in criminal proceedings using measures of both trial-related abilities an developmental maturity. The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice compared the responses of youth and adults in a series on hypothetical legal situations, such as plea bargains, police interrogations, and attorney-client interactions. Responses revealed the degree to which participants understood the long-term consequences of their decisions, their ability to weigh risks, and other factors related to developmental and cognitive maturity. Findings show that a significant portion of youth, especially under age 15, are likely unable to participate competently in their own trials, either in an adult or juvenile court, owing to developmental immaturity.

Categories: Initiative materials, Juvenile indigent defense, Reforms/Trends

Uploaded Apr 19, 2016


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