In re William B.

In October 2007, the Nevada Supreme Court requested NJDC’s participation as amicus in a case centered on the constitutionality of Nevada’s presumptive transfer statute. NJDC’s brief, signed on to by 23 other organizations, addressed several critical constitutional and public policy issues, including the well-established developmental differences between youth and adult offenders, the problems posed by transfer to adult court (including the fact that juveniles who are transferred recidivate more quickly and commit more serious crimes when compared to juveniles retained in juvenile court); and that the statute prevented juvenile defense attorneys from carrying out their duty to provide adequate counsel.

The statute provided that a juvenile would be transferred to adult court upon a prosecutors motion if he or she had been alleged to commit certain crimes, and that the presumption could be rebutted only by proving his or her own incompetence or that he or she committed the alleged offense(s) as a result of emotional, behavioral, or substance abuse problems. That is, the child had to essentially incriminate him or herself to avoid transfer.

On November 26, 2008, the Nevada Supreme Court held the statute was unconstitutional, and struck it down.

Court: Nevada Supreme Court
Filed: January 30, 2008 (download .pdf)
Amicus Brief Discusses: Adolescent Development; Transfer; Effective Assistance of Counsel

Decision: November 26, 2008 (download .pdf)