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Post disposition review hearings in juvenile delinquency cases


Many juveniles commit crimes in Philadelphia every year. Some of these crimes can only be committed by juveniles, such as underage drinking, but many of the crimes committed by adults are committed by juveniles. Even though many of the crimes are the same, juveniles are dealt with differently than adults. The main difference between adults and juveniles is that the main goal of juvenile punishments is to rehabilitate the defendant instead of simply punishing them.

As a part of this goal, there are review hearings for juveniles even after they have been sentenced. One reason is because there are many more requirements that must be met prior to detaining a juvenile than there are for detaining an adult. Therefore, there must be review hearings every six months if a juvenile is placed outside the home. The review hearing is to check on the juvenile's progress as well as to determine whether the placement is still good for the juvenile.

Review hearings are also held if there is a probation violation. These hearings determine whether the juvenile's current sentence should be modified or revoked. The juvenile does have a right to bring evidence to the hearing showing whether there was a violation and, if a violation did occur, to present evidence as to what the punishment should be based on the violation.

Even though there are differences between the juvenile and adult criminal systems, there is one aspect that is similar. Each juvenile charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. There are defenses to crimes and the juvenile may be able to avoid a conviction and avoid the review hearings mentioned above.

Many juveniles are charged with crimes each year in Philadelphia. If the juvenile is convicted, their sentence will be monitored by the courts to try and ensure that the program is working. However, just because a juvenile is charged does not mean that they will be convicted. Experienced attorneys understand the juvenile justice system and may be able to protect one's rights.

Source: Juvenile Court Judges' Commission, "Pennsylvania Juvenile Delinquency Benchbook," accessed on July 27, 2015

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