My client was charged with two counts of lewd molestation as a youthful offender in District Court in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Client was 15 years old when charged and the alleged victim was a younger sibling. Client was originally charged in the District Court for Tulsa County, Oklahoma where adults are charged with criminal allegations. Juvenile court is where individuals under the age of 18 years old are generally charged.
Once I was hired, I immediately went to work attempting to have my client’s case removed from district court to juvenile court. In Oklahoma there are three ways a minor can be charged: in district court as an adult, in district court as a youthful offender or in juvenile court. I filed a motion for certification as a juvenile to have Client’s case transferred to juvenile court.
In order for a youthful offender case or a case where a minor is charged as an adult to be successfully removed to juvenile court, the attorney for the accused must obtain a psychologist or psychiatrist to testify as to why removal is in the minor’s and the public’s best interest. I’ve handled many youthful offender and juvenile cases and am very familiar with what professionals are needed to successfully handle a juvenile or youthful offender case. I picked a psychologist who I was comfortable would be friendly to my client’s position of having the case transferred to juvenile court.
Typically, I move very quickly in youthful offender cases because time is of the essence. One of the factors courts look at when determining whether a minor is better suited for district court or juvenile court is the time the juvenile has to be treated. The minor generally needs to be able to have significant treatment by the time he or she turns 18 years old. This is determined in comparison with the type of crime alleged.
In this case I worked very diligently, having several hearings very quickly and demonstrating that the case was best suited for juvenile court. The benefits of juvenile court are non-public records, generally better treatment to prevent future occurrences and far less severe consequences.
Once I was able to show that my client was likely going to be ordered out of district court and into juvenile court, the State of Oklahoma’s prosecutors agreed to the transfer to juvenile court. Client and the parents were very happy with the result.