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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2903

Title: The impact of juveniles’ ages and levels of psychosocial maturity on judges’ opinions about adjudicative competence
Authors: Cox, Jennifer Mayer
Keywords: Clinical psychology;Juvenile justice, Administration of -- Decision making;Juvenile delinquency -- Psychological aspects
Issue Date: 23-Oct-2008
Abstract: Determinations of competency in adult criminal court have an extensive history, both procedurally and conceptually. Unlike criminal court, however, juvenile courts were designed for rehabilitation, rather than punishment, and, historically, the issue of competency was not often raised. Recently, however, as stakes for youth in juvenile court have begun to parallel those of defendants in criminal court, youths’ competence has become an important issue. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether defendants’ age and maturity affect judges’ ratings of juveniles’ adjudicative competence in juvenile and criminal court. Three hundred forty two criminal and juvenile court judges reviewed one forensic psychological report about a hypothetical defendant; only the age (12-17) and maturity level (less mature; more mature) of the defendant varied across reports. The judges then rated the juvenile’s adjudicative competence in both juvenile and criminal court, provided ratings of the individual competence components, rated their confidence in their decision, and rated the importance of various characteristics of the juvenile to their decisions. Judges also provided demographic information. Results revealed a main effect for age, with older juveniles generally deemed more competent, and a main effect for maturity, with more mature juveniles generally deemed more competent. There was no interaction between age and maturity. Results suggest that age and maturity play major roles in judicial determinations of juvenile competency.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2903
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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