Juvenile Law Center filed an amicus brief in support of a juvenile, William Henry Grigsby, who was tried and sentenced in adult court. Grigsby’s case was initially filed in juvenile court, with a charge of second degree intentional murder. The juvenile court certified Grisby’s case to adult court, based on a set of factors relating to the seriousness of the offense and the child’s capacity for rehabilitation. In adult court, Grigsby was acquitted of the intentional murder charge, but convicted instead on the lesser offenses of second-degree felony murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Juvenile Law Center argued that the certification hearing deprived Grigsby of due process since the judge considered only the intentional murder charge, of which Grigsby was ultimately acquitted. Juvenile Law Center underscored that juveniles are particularly susceptible to the pressure and coercion that are central to felony-murder and manslaughter, and that juvenile developmental status is relevant to constitutional analysis.
In an opinion dated August 1, 2012, the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the Minnesota Court of Appeals decision.