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Criminal Procedure

Landmark ruling restricts ‘certification’ of teen offenders as adults

Posted Aug 9, 2013 3:06 PM CDT
By Rachel M. Zahorsky

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A Texas appeals court overturned the the adult certification of a juvenile in a murder case this week, the first certification overturned in the state in nearly 25 years.

The decision of the 1st Court of Appeals in Houston represents a significant change in how the Texas county deals with juveniles charged with serious crimes, the Houston Chronicle reports (sub.req.)

It’s been nearly five years since Cameron Moon, then 16 years old, was tried for murder as an adult. He had to wait until after his conviction to challenge his adult certification due to a 1995 change in the law, the Chronicle reports.

Moon’s case highlights the necessity for courts to more carefully consider the treatment of juveniles, says Moon’s attorney, Jack Carnegie, a partner at Strasburger & Price who took his client’s case pro bono, according to the report. Adult classification of juveniles should be the exception “because the goal is to rehabilitate youth when you can,” Carnegie told the Chronicle.

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