An Eighth Amendment Analysis of Statutes Allowing or Mandating Transfer of Juvenile Offenders to Adult Criminal Court in Light of the Supreme Court's Recent Jurisprudence Recognizing Developmental Neuroscience
3 Virginia J. Crim. L. 1 (Spring 2015)
37 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 14, 2015
In analyzing the constitutionality of statutes allowing the State to charge a juvenile offender as an adult without a hearing, courts have consistently rejected Constitutional challenges using a due process analysis. Over the last decade, Supreme Court cases banning the juvenile death penalty, banning juvenile life without parole for non-homicides and banning mandatory juvenile life without parole for cases including homicide were decided using an Eighth Amendment analysis. This article argues that, given the Supreme Court’s recognition of developmental neuroscience, juvenile transfer statutes should be reevaluated using an Eighth Amendment analysis. All procedures pursuant to which juveniles are transferred to adult court should be subject to Eighth Amendment scrutiny.
Keywords: juvenile offender, life without parole, Eighth Amendment, 8th Amendment, developmental neuroscience, due process, juvenile death penalty, juvenile transfer statutes
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