Commonwealth v. Green
D. Green was charged in criminal court along with three other boys for robbery and murder in connection with an incident that occurred when he was fifteen years old. After finding that he was amenable to treatment in the juvenile system, the court ordered that he be transferred to the juvenile court for adjudication. However, because the transfer order was delayed beyond the 20-day timeline set forth in the transfer statute, the Commonwealth appealed and the Superior Court ruled the transfer order a legal nullity. Simply because of the timing of the transfer court’s order, D.G. faces the possibility of decades in state prison as opposed to four years in the juvenile system. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has granted review.
Juvenile Law Center filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in support of D.G., arguing that the public interest is served by transferring him to juvenile court and that abundant research supports that young people are capable of positive change and rehabilitation. Our brief further argued that subjecting a child to the criminal system can have devastating consequences and that prosecuting a child in criminal court does not reduce recidivism or deter future crime.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the Superior Court’s finding that the transfer order is a legal nullity, as the trial court did not have authority to issue such an order outside of the 20-day timeline. The Court instructed the trial court to deny D.G.’s motion for transfer, and noted that D.G. could seek appeal from that order.
Andrew Keats, Marsha Levick, Riya Saha Shah
Tiffany Faith, Marissa Lariviere