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Court Rules on Juvenile Delinquency Hearing Regarding Rape Charges


This is a juvenile delinquency petition filed by the respondent who has committed acts which, if he were an adult, would have been categorized as attempted rape in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first and third degrees, rape in the third degree, forcible touching and sexual misconduct.

This petition revealed that on January 2, 2010, the respondent, a minor, committed multiple sex offenses against the victim who was also a minor. The deposition given by the victim stated that at approximately 12:00 o’clock in the morning on January 2, 2010, the respondent put his fingers inside her vagina and moved them in and out. The victim told the respondent to stop but then he put his penis inside her vagina and kept it thereat for a few minutes. The victim said that she kept trying to tell the respondent to stop and that she tried to get up but couldn’t do since the respondent kept on pushing her down. The victim was just eleven year old.

During the initial hearing, the court ruled that the deposition of the victim, which was not considered to be hearsay, established that the respondent, who was 14 years old at the time that the incident happened, committed an act which constitute the completed crime of rape in the first degree against the 11 year old victim; that the respondent, in defence of his minority, is inapplicable to a charge of rape in the first degree committed by a person who is 13 years of age or older and that the charge constitutes a juvenile offense as defined by the Penal Law and Criminal Procedure Law.

It is also clear that since the respondent was only a minor at the time that he committed the offense, the Family Court has no jurisdiction to try this case. However, it is not clear if the Supreme Court also lacks jurisdiction to take cognizance of this instant petition.

Under the Family Court Act, a “juvenile delinquent” is a person over seven and less than sixteen years of age, who, having committed an act that would constitute a crime, if committed by an adult, is not criminally responsible for such conduct by reason of infancy, or, is the defendant in an action ordered removed from a criminal court pursuant to article seven hundred twenty-five of the criminal procedure law”.

In today’s statue, a person 13, 14 or 15 years of age who is accused to having committed a juvenile offense is “now automatically prosecuted within the adult criminal justice system unless there exist certain special circumstances warranting more lenient treatment and transfer to the Family Court”. This only means that a youth of 13, 14 or 15 years of age who has committed a crime which has been designated as juvenile offenses, said youth must be prosecuted as an adult. Under the youthful offender procedures, said minor is entitled to removal of the criminal action to the Family Court at various stages of the criminal action. This removal is mandatory since the legislature has divested the Family Court of original jurisdiction over said acts.

Also, the court ruled that where no criminal action has been commenced against the juvenile, the presentment agency cannot confer or restore to the Family Court original jurisdiction over the case involving juvenile delinquency of the respondent. The prosecution of the minor must commence in a criminal court and the Family Court has no jurisdiction unless and until the criminal action is removed.

In this instant case, the juvenile was alleged to have committee an act constituting rape in the first degree, a juvenile offense. It appears that no criminal action has been commenced against him in any criminal court. It is clear, under the law, that the presentment agency cannot circumvent the legislatively imposed limitation on the Family Court’s original jurisdiction by filing a juvenile delinquency petition when no criminal action has been commenced against the minor.

The criminal attorneys of Stephen Bilkins and Associates have been in the frontline of litigating sex offenses. Their competent and knowledgeable criminal lawyers were proven to give the best legal service in the state to protect the interest of their clients. Their law office is open to anyone who seeks legal advice on any particular legal problem.

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