There are many reports presenting expert policy recommendations, and a substantial volume of research supporting them, that detail what should shape and guide statutes for juvenile competency to stand trial. Ohio has adopted provisions consistent with some of these recommendations, which is better protection than relying on case law and the adult statutes, as some states have done. However, the Ohio statute should be considered a work in progress.
Since appeals courts are unlikely to provide meaningful review for the substance of a juvenile competency determination, the need for procedures for ensuring that the determination is initially made in a deliberate and informed manner is significantly heightened. Every aspect of the statute should be reviewed considering the research and scholarship that is newly available since it was implemented in 2011. Furthermore, there is one glaring gap in the statute’s protection that cannot wait. The provisions for attainment and attainment review must be amended to include substantially detailed requirements and procedures for the statute to ensure that juvenile due process rights are not violated by making children face adjudications while not competent to do so.
Due Process Junior: Competent (Enough) for the Court,
36 J.L. & Health
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/jlh/vol36/iss1/8