DCLY recently filed its first amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief in the D.C. Court of Appeals on behalf of a man who had been tried and convicted as an adult while he was 16 years old.
Under D.C. law, juvenile offenders may be tried as adults if they are charged with certain crimes listed by statute. When the prosecutors overcharged this teenager with assault with intent to murder, the youth was automatically transferred to the adult criminal justice system from the more rehabilitation-focused Family Court. Although he was eventually convicted of a lesser charge, which normally would have been brought through the juvenile justice system, he has spent the past nine years in an adult correctional facility. Hopefully, through this and future amicus efforts, DCLY can educate the court on the importance of letting experienced Family Court judges, and not prosecutors, decide which children should be tried as adults.