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In re the Welfare of J.H.

    Brief Fact Summary.

    J.H. was present when a minor was raped by gang members, and the State is appealing the decision to try J.H. as a minor.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    When trying a juvenile as an adult, a juvenile court does not have to consider: (1) the severity of the offense and the juvenile’s criminal record and (2) how these two factors affected the decision to try a juvenile as an adult.

    Facts.

    A minor was raped by gang members and J.H. was present at the time of the offense. To determine whether a minor will be tried as an adult, six factors are considered: (1) the severity of the crime, (2) the fault of the child, (3) the child’s previous criminal record, (4) the child’s previous history and willingness to participate in rehabilitation, (5) the effectiveness of the rehabilitation, and (6) the ability of the child to be tried as a juvenile or as an adult. The juvenile court made the decision to try J.H. as an adult and gave greater weight to J.H. prior record and the seriousness of the offense. The court of appeals reversed and the state appealed.

    Issue.

    When trying a juvenile as an adult, does a juvenile court have to consider: (1) the severity of the offense and the juvenile’s previous criminal record and (2) how these two factors affected the decision to try a juvenile as an adult?

    Held.

    No. Judgment of the court of appeals is reversed.

    Discussion.

    The trial court did not err in the decision to try J.H. as an adult. The court gave written explanation for each of the six factors to try J.H. as an adult and four of the six factors stood in support of the certification determination.


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