How Juvenile Cases Can Be Heard In Adult Court

How juvenile cases can be heard in adult court

Juveniles have their court system. However, there are some instances when they can be tried in adult courts. Trial of a juvenile in adult courts can be a result of involvement in a serious crime, the juvenile being an older minor, having gone through a rehabilitation process before,  or a case when one has a serious history of involvement in criminal activities. For juveniles to be tried in adult courts, a judge has to waiver the protections that juveniles get from the law based on the four reasons that have been stated herein.  Therefore, some terms have to be met for a juvenile to be tried in the adult courts system.

There are different ways that juveniles can be transferred to adult courts. One of the options is through approval by a judge of a juvenile court. The other way through which a juvenile can be transferred to an adult court is a result of the application of the automatic transfer law, which is applicable in some of the states. Automatic transfer is based on referring to the four reasons that have been stated herein. This is often referred to as a legislative or statutory option. The third alternative is a decision made by the prosecutor, an option that is viable in only a few states in the US. However, it should be noted that the third alternative is only applicable are some of the states. The only option that seems to be universally applicable is through a case being waivered to the adults’ court system by a judge after careful consideration of the legal and circumstantial factors relating to a juvenile case.

A recent example of a case whereby juveniles were tried in adult courts is one in which Abel Ortiz and Jorge Hernandez, 17, were accused of murdering Edward Ross. The case was waived to adult court in February 2020 after an application by the state attorney’s office.  The two suspects were accused of having forcefully accessed the victim’s residence before shooting him and leaving him dead (Tucker, 2020). The changes imply that the two suspects will be subjected to the process and terms that an adult would have been subjected to if they were being suspected of having committed the same crime.

There are various reasons as to why I would agree with the decision to move the case against Abel and Jorge to adult court. One of the reasons is that the offense that they are accused of is considered to be a capital one.  It falls under the category of first-degree murder. The two cannot be said to have accidentally shot their victim. Therefore, it is right for the justice system to make sure that people like Jorge and Abel act as an example to other minors who might think of engaging in such crimes in the future. The crime led to the loss of life. Therefore, it should not be taken lightly. The two suspects are almost adults. Jorge, who is the older of the two, is 17 years old. This is an implication that he would be turning 18 in months. Therefore, he falls under the category of older minors. Being an older minor is an implication that the two should be getting ready for the state of taking full responsibility for their activities just as adults are expected to.


Augustyn, M. B., & Mcgloin, J. M. (2018). Revisiting juvenile waiver: Integrating the incapacitation experience. Criminology, 56(1), 154-190.

Tucker, K. (2020). Two minors connected to murder case waived to adult court. Retrieved from