Decision Commonwealth v. Newton N., a juvenile

Date: 02/05/2018
Organization: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Table of Contents

Commonwealth v. Newton N., a juvenile

Commonwealth v. Newton N., a juvenile
Supreme Judicial Court, February 5, 2018

A Juvenile Court judge dismissed a delinquency complaint before arraignment where the complaint was supported by probable cause and the prosecutor moved for arraignment.  The Court held the following: 

  1. A Juvenile Court judge’s consideration of a prearraignment motion to dismiss may not consider whether a juvenile was criminally responsible for the charged offenses or whether the juvenile’s mental impairment rendered the juvenile incapable of having the requisite intent.  These are issues for a trial and should not be considered as part of the probable cause calculus within the “four corners” of the complaint application.
  2. Where a prosecutor moves for arraignment on a delinquency case supported by probable cause, a Juvenile Court judge does not have authority to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that it is in the best interests of the child and in the interests of justice.