Supreme Judicial Court, December 23, 2013

In this case, the Supreme Judicial Court answered several reported questions concerning the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court, under the statutory scheme as it existed before the Governor signed “An Act expanding juvenile jurisdiction.”

Definition of Apprehended in G.L. c. 119, § 72 and G.L. c. 119, § 72A

An individual’s age at apprehension dictates whether the Juvenile Court has jurisdiction to proceed.   In this case the SJC defined the word apprehended, as it relates to the Juvenile Courts jurisdiction, for the first time.  The Court held "The term 'apprehension' in G.L. c. 119, § 72A, refers to the time of commencement of process (i.e., when a summons issues), provided the juvenile is 'available' to the court at that point."  “Where a warrant issues, apprehension occurs when a juvenile is taken into custody and available to the Juvenile Court for disposition of the case against him.”

Proceeding Directly to Youthful Offender Indictments for an Offender Older than 18

In Commonwealth v. Nanny, 462 Mass. 798 (2012), the Court held that the Commonwealth cannot proceed directly to a youthful offender indictment against an individual over the age of eighteen for crimes committed when the individual was fourteen to seventeen years of age.  Rather, the Commonwealth must file a delinquency complaint and then seek a transfer hearing pursuant to G.L. c. 119   72A.  Id. at 806.

In Mogelinski, the SJC considered whether a timely filed delinquency complaint would change the outcome of Commonwealth v. Nanny and decided that it would not.  The Court reasoned that a youthful offender indictment is not “any other proceeding arising out of a” delinquency complaint and “[n]owhere does the statute suggest that a complaint is merely a placeholder or a stand-in for an indictment to follow at a later date.”  Even if a timely delinquency complaint is filed, the Commonwealth cannot proceed directly to a youthful offender indictment and instead must seek a transfer hearing pursuant to G.L. c. 119   72A.