In re J.R.

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J.R. was transferred to adult court in Texas for a crime that occurred when he was 16 years old. Texas juvenile court judges are required to explain their deliberative process for transferring a young person to adult court, including their consideration of the youth’s sophistication and maturity. However, the judge in J.R.’s case provided only a pro forma waiver using boilerplate language. 

Juvenile Law Center and Lone Star Justice Alliance filed an amicus brief in the Texas Court of Appeals in support of J.R. Our brief argued that the court’s evaluation of a young person’s sophistication and maturity must consider current scientific research on adolescent development and the documented effects of peer pressure on youth. We further argued that an evaluation that does not properly consider evidence against waiver will result in a disproportionate number of Black and Brown youth transferred to adult court, and we emphasized that transfer to the adult system has a multitude of harmful consequences for youth.

The Texas Court of Appeals affirmed the juvenile court’s order transferring J.R. to adult court.