On January 11, 2016, the Schubert Center, with the assistance of faculty associate Jessie Hill, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Judge Ben C. Green Professor of Law at the CWRU School of Law, joined several 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. Matthew Aalim). 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.
On December 22, 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that “mandatory transfer of juveniles to the common pleas courts violates juveniles’ right to due process as guaranteed by the Ohio Constitution.” To read more about the ruling visit the Court News Ohio website.