On March 10, 2014 the Schubert Center, with the assistance of faculty associate Jessie Hill, associate dean for faculty development and research at the CWRU School of Law, joined 16 other organizations with the Children’s Law Center in submitting an amicus or “friend of the court” brief to the Ohio Supreme Court in support of eliminating mandatory bindover of youth (State of Ohio v. Alexander Quarterman). Mandatory bindover is a legal mechanism in Ohio law that automatically deems a child an “adult” for certain offenses and transfers the child from the juvenile justice system to the adult court system without any judicial discretion. In other words, current law allows no consideration by a juvenile judge of any factors, including the child’s age, maturity or any other conditions or developmental characteristics, prior to being transferred to the adult criminal system. Research has shown that youth transferred to the adult system increases the likelihood that the youth will reoffend compared to youth who remain in the juvenile justice system for similar offenses. Research also shows that youth in adult detention facilities often face serious harm, including increased violence and isolation, and long-lasting damage that can make it difficult for them to successfully return to society. The Schubert Center with several partners has been engaged in state-level juvenile justice policy reforms aligned with child and adolescent development principles, including recent changes to enhance judicial discretion and to modify the use of mandatory bindover of juveniles.
State v. Quarterman has been scheduled for oral argument on July 8 at 9am, at the Ohio Supreme Court building, with Amanda Powell of the Office of the Ohio Public Defender representing the defendant. The hearings are live streamed on the Ohio Supreme Court website and archived, for future access.
More information about the case can be found here at the Supreme Court of Ohio website.
Update 9/30/14: The Supreme Court of Ohio released its decision, which can be read here.