Immaturity Can Mean No Trial

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A three-judge appeals panel in Sacramento ruled last month that an 11-year-old candy thief, and all those like him, are too immature to stand trial.

Overruling juvenile court judges who ruled that children must have a mental disorder or developmental disability to be deemed incompetent for trial, the 3rd District California Court of Appeal said that a youth’s immaturity can also be considered.

“Developmental immaturity may result in trial incompetence despite the absence of any underlying mental or developmental abnormality,” Justice Cole Blease wrote.

According to The Sacramento Bee, Chief Public Defender Arthur Bowie paved the way for the decision by challenging the Sacramento District Attorney’s office over the prosecution of a boy for second-degree burglary. The boy broke a school window and stole candy bars.