Juvenile Law Center, along with New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and Rutgers Urban Legal Clinic, co-authored a brief on behalf of V.A., a 16-year old who was transferred to adult court pursuant to New Jersey’s transfer statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:4A 26.
The brief argued that a statute which permits transfer of 16- and 17-year old youth to the adult system upon motion of the prosecutor and a mere showing of probable cause was unconstitutional as applied. The brief urged the Supreme Court of New Jersey to reverse the New Jersey Appellate Division’s adoption of a “patent and gross abuse of discretion” standard for judicial review of prosecutorial waiver motions. The brief also argued that the waiver statute, as applied, violated the juvenile’s right to due process under the United States and New Jersey Constitutions, and violated the separation of powers clause of the New Jersey State Constitution.
The brief highlighted the inequities in the application of waiver laws, as minority youth are disproportionally waived to the adult system, thereby suffering disparate rates of incarceration and collateral consequences of conviction.