Juveniles & Youthful Offenders – 2018 Oklahoma Laws #16

These bills affected several Youthful Offender statutes. Changes included representation of a youthful offender, youthful offender preliminary hearing, the length of time a youthful offender could be under the custody of the Office of Juvenile Affairs, and the deferral of delinquency proceedings. They went into effect on November 1, 2018.

Representation of a Youthful Offender

oklahoma youthful offenderAppointment of counsel is now mandatory when a petition is filed pursuant to 2-5-201 of the Children and Juvenile Code. Appointment under that provision or a petition under 2-104 of the Children and Juvenile Code, the representation must exist at every hearing or review through the completion or dismissal of the case.

Before making an order of disposition, the court must now also advise the  child’s attorney of the factual contents and the conclusion of reports prepared for the use of the court and considered by it, and afford fair opportunity, if requested, to controvert them. This is in addition to the prior requirement of notifying the district attorney, the parents, guardian, custodian or responsible relative, and their counsel. This change also now gives the child’s counsel the right to move to continue a hearing to receive more reports.

This change clarifies that youthful offender court records for the person who is certified to stand trial as an adult or youthful offender are considered adult records. All reports, evaluations, motions, records, exhibits, or documents regarding the educational history, mental health, or medical treatment or condition of the offender that are submitted to the court or admitted into evidence during the hearing on the motion for certification as a youthful offender to the juvenile system or motion for imposition of an adult sentence will be confidential and will be filed or admitted under seal, except that such records will be provided to the Office of Juvenile Affairs. Any testimony regarding the reports, evaluations, motions, records, exhibits or documents shall be given in camera and will not be open to the general public; provided, all persons having a direct interest in the case as must be allowed to be present during the testimony but will be admonished not to discuss the testimony following the hearing. All reports, evaluations, motions, records, exhibits, or documents will be released from under seal by order of the court if the youthful offender is sentenced to the custody or supervision of the Department of Corrections by the court or if the juvenile or youthful offender is later charged as an adult with a felony crime.

Youthful Offender Preliminary Hearing

A preliminary hearing is supposed to occur within 90 days of the filing of the information. Now, If the preliminary hearing does not commence within 90 days from the filing of the information due to the absence or inability to locate the accused, the preliminary hearing must commence within 90 days after the state has actual notice of the in-state location of the accused. If the accused is found out of state, the court must set the hearing within 90 days after the accused has been returned to Oklahoma.

Length of Time Under Custody of Office of Juvenile Affairs

A youthful offender may not remain in the custody or under the supervision of the Office of Juvenile Affairs beyond the youthful offender’s maximum age of 18 years and six months or until 19 years of age if jurisdiction has been extended. Previously the youthful offender could only remain in the custody of the Office of Juvenile Affairs until the YO was 18 years and five months old.

Upon the youthful offender attaining the age of 18 years and six months, the Office of Juvenile Affairs may recommend that the youthful offender be returned to the custody or supervision of the Office of Juvenile Affairs until the age of 19 to complete the reintegration phase of the treatment program or community supervision as determined by the Office of Juvenile Affairs. During any period of extension, a youthful offender may be transferred to the Department of Corrections, whether the youthful offender is placed in an out-of-home placement or in the community.

If the court has extended jurisdiction of the youthful offender until 19 years old, the youthful offender will remain in custody or under the supervision of the Office of Juvenile Affairs until the youthful offender has been discharged or sentenced by the court or until the youthful offender’s 19th birthday, at which time the youthful offender will be returned to the court for final disposition of the youthful offender’s case. Any order issued by the sentencing court under this part of the law will be a final order, appealable when entered.

Deferral of Delinquency Adjudication Proceedings

A court may defer delinquency adjudication proceedings for one hundred eighty (180) days. Previously, that was the only length of time possible to defer these proceedings. Now, a court can defer proceedings an additional 180 days if the court determines that the child has made satisfactory progress and that such extension is necessary to accomplish treatment goals and objectives.

Sources: SB 224, SB 1066, 10A O.S. §§ 2-2-301, 2-2-404, 2-2-501, 2-4-107, 2-5-2042-5-2052-5-2062-5-2072-5-208, & 2-5-209

Charged as a youthful offender in Oklahoma? Call Oklahoma criminal defense attorney Frank Urbanic in OKC at 405-633-3420.

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