Juveniles Tried As Adults Cases In North Carolina
Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7A-610:
(a) If probable cause is found and transfer to superior court is not required by G.S. 7A-608, the prosecutor or the juvenile may move that the case be transferred to the superior court for trial as in the case of adults. the judge may proceed to determine whether the needs of the juvenile or the best interest of the State will be served by transfer of the case to superior court for trial as in the case of adults....N.C. Gen. Stat. 7A-610(a)(1995).
The transfer of a juvenile's case to superior court is in the sound discretion of the juvenile court. State v. Green, 124 N.C. App. 269, 276, 477 S.E.2d 182, 185 (1996), affirmed, 348 N.C. 588, 502 S.E.2d 819 (1998), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 1111, 142 L. Ed. 2d 783, 119 S. Ct. 883 (1999).
While the decision to transfer a case to the superior court is addressed to the discretion of the juvenile court, the transfer order must contain the reasons underlying the decision. N.C. Gen. Stat. 7A-610(c)(1995); State v. Green, 348 N.C. 588, 601, 502 S.E.2d 819, 826 (1998).
In Green, our Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of 7A-610, and stated: When a juvenile court judge decides transfer meets "the needs of the juvenile or serves the best interest of the State," he or she does so with full knowledge of the dispositional alternatives in the juvenile and adult systems.
The juvenile court judge seeks to develop a disposition that takes into account the facts of the case, such as the seriousness of the crime, the viciousness of the attack, the injury caused and the strength of the State's case.
The juvenile court judge's decision is also guided by the needs and limitations of the juvenile, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the juvenile's family.
Moreover, the juvenile court judge takes into account the protection of public safety and the legislature's growing concern with serious youthful offenders and increasing dissatisfaction with the ability of the juvenile system to provide either adequate public protection or rehabilitative service to the juvenile given the usual short period of time between conviction and release from the juvenile system. Green, 348 N.C. at 599-600, 502 S.E.2d at 826.