Adjudicative Competence in the Modern Juvenile Court

43 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2003 Last revised: 29 May 2014

See all articles by Richard E. Redding

Richard E. Redding

Chapman University

Lynda E. Frost

Hogg Foundation for Mental Health; Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

Date Written: December 1, 2002


In recent years, as juvenile justice systems across the country have become more punitive and courts have held that juveniles are entitled to adult-like levels of due process protection, the adjudicative competence of juveniles has increasingly come into question. To clarify this trend, we reviewed the current state of the law in the fifty states and the District of Columbia, focusing on recent court opinions and legislation as of January of 2000. We then summarize relevant empirical research on juveniles' competency-related capacities in delinquency proceedings. As a case study, we examine the development and implementation of juvenile competence legislation in Virginia, analyzing the legal, clinical, and practical considerations that arise from the recognition of a juvenile competence requirement. We conclude that the passage of a juvenile competence statute does not necessarily lead to an overwhelming number of juveniles being found incompetent. With quality training of evaluators and attorneys, further research on clinical components of adjudicative competency in juveniles, and legislative support and funding, a juvenile competence requirement can help ensure the fair and effective functioning of the modern juvenile court.

Keywords: Adjudicative Competence, Competence to Stand Trial, Juvenile Court, Forensic Issues, Juvenile Offenders, Delinquency

Suggested Citation

Redding, Richard E. and Frost, Lynda E. and Frost, Lynda E., Adjudicative Competence in the Modern Juvenile Court (December 1, 2002). Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law, Vol. 9, pp. 353-410, 2002, Available at SSRN: or

Richard E. Redding (Contact Author)

Chapman University ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
United States
714-628-2688 (Phone)
714-628-2564 (Fax)

Lynda E. Frost

Hogg Foundation for Mental Health ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-471-9150 (Phone)


Hogg Foundation for Mental Health ( email )

University of Texas at Austin
P.O. Box 7998
Austin, TX 78713-7998
United States
512-471-9150 (Phone)


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics