in reforming the juvenile justice system by implementing policies and
procedures that will harm juveniles and place society at risk.
On July 23, 1995, an intruder brutally attacked and stabbed Janet
Downing approximately 100 times in her Somerville home. The revolting
Downing murder and ensuing arrest of Edward O'Brien Jr., a 15-year-old
juvenile whom prosecutors say committed the heinous crime, sent
shockwaves through the state. When Somerville District Court Judge Paul
P. Hefferman ruled that the Commonwealth try Mr. O'Brien as a juvenile,
those shockwaves grew in intensity, and the citizens of Massachusetts,
fed up with increasing youth violence and perceptions of an ineffective
juvenile justice system, demanded the enactment of tough new laws to
deal with repeat and violent juvenile offenders. The Great and General
Court of Massachusetts headed these demands for reform of the juvenile
justice system and enacted legislation that, among other things,
abolishes the trial de novo system in the juvenile courts, requires the
trial of juveniles charged with murder, manslaughter, aggravated rape,
forcible rape of a child, kidnaping, assault with intent to rob or
murder and armed burglary in adult court and permits prosecutors to open
to the public juvenile proceedings when they seek an adult sentence.
Although proponents tout these measures as a sagacious solution for the
vexatious problem of juvenile delinquency, abolishing the trial de novo
system, providing for automatic adult trials and opening juvenile
proceedings to the public when prosecutors seek an adult sentence works
to the detriment, not the benefit, of juveniles and society. Therefore,
the policy makers of Massachusetts should repeal most sections of the
Juvenile Justice Reform Act and develop other policies to deal with the
rising problem of juvenile crime.
I. A SINGLE TRIAL SYSTEM PREVENTS... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2000, 05). Juvenile Justice Reform. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 05, 2000, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Juvenile-Justice-Reform-26701.html
"Juvenile Justice Reform" StudyMode.com. 05 2000. 05 2000 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Juvenile-Justice-Reform-26701.html>.
"Juvenile Justice Reform." StudyMode.com. 05, 2000. Accessed 05, 2000. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Juvenile-Justice-Reform-26701.html.