Saturday, July 20, 2013
Carissa Byrne Hessick and Judith M. Stinson (University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law and Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law) have posted Juveniles, Sex Offenses, and the Scope of Substantive Law (46 Texas Tech L. Rev. (2013), Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Substantive criminal law is an important factor in determining whether a juvenile will be tried as a juvenile or transferred to adult court. In particular, the gravity of the offense with which the juvenile is charged is a key component of most states’ discretionary waiver statutes, and it disproportionately influences judges when deciding whether to transfer juveniles. As a general matter, sex offenses are considered serious crimes. And a number of serious sex offenses are criminalized because of the victim’s age. These severe penalties reflect a policy determination on the part of legislatures that when sexual activity is illegal, either in whole or in part, because of the age of one of the participants — a category of crimes that we refer to as "age-determinative sex offenses" — participation in that activity is a serious crime.
The question we seek to answer in this Article is whether the justice system ought to distinguish between adult and juvenile offenders for these age-determinative sex offenses when assessing the seriousness or gravity of these crimes.