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When might the court try a minor as an adult?

Typically, juvenile criminal cases do not get a lot of news coverage. Officials usually keep these cases out of the public eye to help protect the children in the case. However, occasionally, you will hear about a case in the media. When this happens, it generally is due to the criminal charges being serious, such as a murder charge. Also, in many of these cases, the juvenile court system hands the case to the adult court system to try the minor as an adult.

Houston Public Media explains that juvenile courts turned over an average of five juvenile cases each week for trial in adult court from 1995 to 2015. Before this can happen, there must be a hearing in the juvenile court system. A juvenile court judge has the ability to send a case to the adult system if the case meets certain criteria.

Rehabilitation factor

Judges must consider if rehabilitation is possible. The juvenile court focuses on helping the child to better him or herself and not end up in the criminal justice system again. The focus of the adult court is to punish. So, if the judge feels the minor is beyond help, it could tip the scales to send the case to the adult court.

Other considerations

However, the judge must also look at the seriousness of the offense, the evidence in the case that shows guilt and the maturity of the child. If after looking at all the criteria, the judge believes the case would be better off with the adult system, then he or she can order the move.