NOTE: A NEW ERA IN JUVENILE JUSTICE: EXPANDING THE SCOPE OF JUVENILE PROTECTIONS THROUGH NEUROPSYCHOLOGY Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2014 Suffolk Journal of Trial & Appellate Advocacy 
Suffolk Journal of Trial & Appellate Advocacy

NOTE: A NEW ERA IN JUVENILE JUSTICE: EXPANDING THE SCOPE OF JUVENILE PROTECTIONS THROUGH NEUROPSYCHOLOGY

2014 / 2015

Suffolk Journal of Trial & Appellate Advocacy

20 Suffolk J. Trial & App. Adv. 92

Author

Scott Lenahan

Excerpt




I. INTRODUCTION
 

Given this premise asserted by the Supreme Court, why do the constitutional protections for juveniles vanish on an individual's eighteenth birthday? 2 The explanation articulated by the Second Circuit is that (1) a line must be drawn to pronounce a categorical rule, and (2) eighteen is the traditional age where society draws that line between adolescence and adulthood. 3 However, recent developments in neuropsychology have led many to question the validity of such an arbitrary rule, especially as the level of culpability between juveniles and adults continues to expand in the courtroom. 4

Over the past ten years, the Supreme Court delivered a series of monumental decisions that redefined the constitutional limits on sentencing juveniles. 5 At the same time, neuroscience research exploded, offering new insight into how the average brain develops into one's early to mid-twenties. 6 The combined impact of the Supreme Court's recent decisions and neuropsychologists' findings on adolescent brain development sparked litigation over whether the same safeguards established by the Supreme Court for juveniles should apply to individuals through early adulthood. 7 The confluence of legal and scientific advancements in this area pose difficult questions for policymakers and constitutional scholars over the appropriate level of punishment for young adults, which could lead to a turning point in the history of juvenile justice. 8

This Note argues that the legal community must reexamine the question of culpability as applied to young adults who satisfy the criteria established by the Supreme ...
 
 
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