State v. Tate

Juvenile Law Center filed an amicus brief on behalf of a 12-year-old boy indicted by a grand jury, convicted of the first-degree murder, and sentenced to life in prison. Juvenile Law Center argued that the state should have been required to rebut the common law presumption that a twelve-year-old lacks the capacity to commit crimes; the trial court erred in failing to address the boy’s competence to stand trial; the Florida transfer scheme violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; and a sentence of life without parole imposed on a twelve-year-old violates both the U.S. and Florida Constitutions.

The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, finding that the youth’s due process rights were violated by trial court's failure to order competency evaluations. The court rejected defendant’s other challenges.