BLAND v. U.S. - 412 U.S. 909 (1973)


U.S. Supreme Court

BLAND v. U.S. , 412 U.S. 909 (1973)

412 U.S. 909

Jerome T. BLAND
v.
UNITED STATES.
No. 72-6075.

Supreme Court of the United States

May 21, 1973

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, with whom Mr. Justice BRENNAN and Mr. Justice MARSHALL concur, dissenting.

Petitioner was 16 years old at the time of his arrest and at the time of his indictment for armed robbery of a post office. He was charged as an adult under 16 D.C.Code 2301(3)(A).* He

Page 412 U.S. 909 , 910

moved to dismiss the indictment, alleging that the statutory basis for prosecuting him as an adult failed to provide him with procedural due process. The District Court, 330 F.Supp. 34, dismissed the indictment and the Court of Appeals, 472 F.2d 1329, by a divided vote reversed that judgment.

Under the statute of the District of Columbia involved in Kent v. United States, 383 U.S. 541, a juvenile, age 16 or older, who is charged with a felony might be held for trial as though he were an adult, if the Juvenile Court waived jurisdiction. Kent held that the Act, read in light of 'the essentials of due process and fair treatment,' Id., at 562, 557, 86 S.Ct. at 1057, required a hearing on whether the Juvenile Court should waive its exclusive jurisdiction over the juvenile and transfer him to the criminal court of the District. And in In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1, we held that where under a state junvenile court act a juvenile is declared 'delinquent' and either confined or held for regular criminal prosecution, there must be a due process hearing on the issue of 'delinquency.'

The District of Columbia Act was modified after Kent so as to give the U. S. Attorney the power to remove a juvenile from the statutory category of 'child' merely by charging him with a designated felony. The House Report No. 91-907, 91st Cong., 2d Sess., at 50, explains the reason for the change:

    'Because of the great increase in the number of serious felonies committed by juveniles and because of the substantial difficulties in transferring juvenile offenders charged with serious felonies to the jurisdiction of the adult court under present law, provisions are made in this subchapter for a better mechanism for separation of the violent youthful offender and recidivist from the rest of the juvenile community.' [412 U.S. 909 , 911]




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