Parents and children under the age of 18 are surprised when they find out a person under the age of 18 can go to trial as an adult for a crime. So, when may a juvenile be required to appear in adult court for trial? The court may order that a juvenile who was age 14 or older at the time of the offense and who is charged with certain felonies, be certified as adult and tried in adult criminal court.
Juveniles convicted of an offense in adult court receive adult sentences. Juveniles charged with first degree murder, who were age 16 or 17 at the time of the offense, are required by Minnesota Statutes to be certified as adults and sent to adult court.
Below is a summary of a juvenile matter certified as an adult.Click here if you wish to read the entire opinion.
Certification, Minnesota Statute Section 260B
Defendant was 15 years of age when had a petition filed against him charging him with Murder in the second degree- Intentional and was certified to stand trial as an adult. The Complaint was then amended to include Murder in the second degree Felony Murder. Defendant was found guilty of murder in the second degree – Felony murder and manslaughter in the second degree; and found not guilty of murder in the second degree, Intentional murder. He was sentenced to 180 months.
Defendant appeals on the ground that certification is offense specific. The Defendant argued that charges not included in the certification order cannot be charged in the adult court proceeding. The Supreme Court rejects this argument and says the juvenile court certifies proceedings and those proceedings include offenses not mentioned in the certification order.
Defendant also states that he could not be sentenced as an adult for the adult convictions because he was found not guilty of the offense that he was certified as an adult for. The Supreme Court also rejects this position holding that once a juvenile is certified to stand trial in adult court, the juvenile may be sentenced as an adult for any offenses he is convicted of in adult court.