Juvenile cases are sometimes transferred to adult criminal court. The requirements regarding a court holding a hearing on the issue of declining jurisdiction are set forth in RCW 13.40.110. An appeals court recently considered whether Washington juvenile court jurisdiction could be waived for any type of case, or if the court’s authority was limited to the types of cases identified in the statute as eligible for a decline hearing.
According to the appeals court’s opinion, a 17-year-old juvenile was charged with two counts of a gross misdemeanor, fourth degree assault. He moved to have the case moved to adult criminal court, partly to have a jury trial and an opportunity to vacate his convictions. He argued a juvenile court may decline jurisdiction over a criminal case if the juvenile intelligently makes an express waiver pursuant to RCW 13.40.140(10). RCW 13.40.140(10) provides that any waiver of a juvenile’s rights must be “express” and “intelligently made.” The state argued that a juvenile court is only permitted to decline jurisdiction in cases in which a decline hearing is required.
The court granted the request and the state requested discretionary review.