If you’ve followed this blog, you’ve read plenty of posts where I question why so many black youth get charged as adults in Delaware County. Most readers don’t seem to have a problem with it as they’ve expressed on more than one occasion, ‘If you do the crime, you should do the time.’

My argument is if you’re a juvenile, you should ‘do the time’ as a juvenile. Isn’t that the point of having a juvenile justice system? I just want to know how does the authorities make the decision to charge as an adult right off the bat?

On today’s Delcotimes,com there’s a story of how I believe the process should work every time. Because the stakes are so high, a juvenile criminal should have a hearing to determine if they should be charged as an adult.

Here’s how it works for a juvenile in Chester County.

A Common Pleas Court judge will be asked Friday whether the teenager who is accused of attacking an elderly woman and locking her in a closet should have his case handled in adult court here, or remain in the juvenile system.

He was automatically put in the juvenile system after all this…

He is charged with attempted homicide, robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, strangulation, and related offenses.

The woman was bound and gagged and locked in a closet for four days in her rural home on Creek Road on Feb. 22 when she was returning to the home she lived in alone from work. She was bound and gagged with duct tape, and left in first-floor closet that was locked shut. During the assault, the attacker told her, “You’ll be with Jesus soon,” police have said. She was strangled until she lost consciousness.

…and, he’s got a little history

…the youth was adjudicated delinquent on two burglary counts in Delaware County on Oct. 18. He was ordered placed in a home residential program supervised by Glen Mills School and placed on the Delaware County GPS system, but fled from those programs Oct. 30.

And then I read this shocking statement…

Few cases of juveniles charged with crimes are transferred to adult court in Chester County

The most important part of this article is the criteria the authorities use to determine whether to charge as an adult or not.

Factors involved include the impact of the offense on the victim and the community; the threat to public safety; the circumstances of the offense; and whether the juvenile is amenable to treatment, supervision or rehabilitation. Hall can take into account the youth’s age, mental capacity, his maturity, the degree of criminal sophistication exhibited in the case, any previous records, and whether the youth an be rehabilitated prior to the expiration of the juvenile court jurisdiction at age 21.

I just can’t understand how in Delaware County that determination is made at the time of the arrest where Chester County the prosecutors have to request a hearing to transfer to adult court.

It’s probably just me, but I think there should be some consistency how youth get charged as adults.

What do you think?

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