TITLE

PUNISHING YOUTH HOMICIDE OFFENDERS IN PHILADELPHIA

AUTHOR(S)
Eigen, Joel Peter
PUB. DATE
September 1981
SOURCE
Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology;Fall1981, Vol. 72 Issue 3, p1072
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article reports on the response of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to violent crime committed by its young. All juveniles arrested in one year under the charge of homicide were included in this study to investigate characteristics of their crime and the dispositional choices made by Philadelphia's Family Court concerning where these juveniles should be tried. The study pays particular attention to two critical points in the processing of juveniles arrested for serious assaultive behavior: waiver to criminal court and the criminal court trial. Of all juveniles arrested in the first 200 homicide events in 1970, exactly half were retained by juvenile court while the other half were transferred to criminal court to be tried as adults. Such an even split is compelling both sociologically and in terms of jurisprudence. A cohort of juveniles, all arrested for the same type of crime--homicide--is parceled out into two justice systems with vastly different capacities to punish. Typically, prosecutorial decisions are based on several considerations: situational aspects of the offense, offender characteristics, and policy implications. Regarding certification, the strategy aims at identifying juveniles whose actions and past record reveal a maturity or seriousness rendering the youth to be, in actuality, an adult. Situational factors which may affect the seriousness of the killing include felony precipitation and the offender's role in the killing. The offender's role referred to in this study as degree of participation is of particular relevance to certification because juvenile offenses usually involve more than one assailant. In addition to aspects of the offense, characteristics of the individual offender will also likely contribute to the decision to certify. Offender characteristics include the juvenile's offense record and prior adjudication by the Family Court. Prior adjudications are likely to bear directly on the issue of maturity and amenability to treatment.
ACCESSION #
17521535

 

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