Juvenile Competency Analysis

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There have been several courts in many states that have lowered the ages at which youths could be tried in adult criminal courts and expanded the ranges of young offenders that are subject to adult adjudication and punishment; at the same time, the severity of the penalties available to the juvenile court increased (Grisso, 2003). With the current legal developments have raised an important issue of developmental capacities needed to participate effectively in their trials (Grisso, 2003). Although courts and legislatures in some states have determined that youths adjudicated in juvenile and criminal courts must be competent, but there has been little recognition that youths in criminal court may not meet these standards due to developmental…show more content…
Adult and juvenile defendants face an inquiry that regards the competence to stand trial based on the criteria of Dusky v. United States (1960) (Riffin, 2006). The questions addressed in a competency assessment involve the defendant’s current ability to consult with their lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding, and whether the defendant has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings pending against them (Grisso,…show more content…
Psychologists must address questions that may not be routine in the competency assessments that are currently implemented for adult defendants. One of the key problems that need to be assessed in a juvenile defendant is their grasp of the element of risk inherent in criminal proceedings and associated with their abilities to adopt a future orientation in weighing the risks that are also associated with the trial process and plea bargaining (Grisso, 2003). In respect to juveniles, especially the younger ones the facility to appreciate the implications of matters that involve pleas, penalties, and waiver rights may become problematic. Some juveniles the lack of an ability to understand the concept of long-term personal future and possible consequences of decisions and actions that are taken from them in the course of immediate involvement in the criminal justice system (Grisso, 2003). Though there are many concerns that are identified of juveniles within the adult courts, there is insufficient time and resources for many of the public defenders that have the responsibility to defend juveniles with minimal familiarity with the workings of the criminal justice system than the average adult defendant (Grisso, 2003). Many of the juvenile defendants, like the adult defendants are considered indigent, and reliant on the minimal
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