State v. Watkins – Washington Supreme Court
Court: Washington Supreme Court
Case No.: 94973-5
Hearing Date: March 13, 2018
Tyler Watkins was sixteen years old when he was charged with burglary and automatically declined to adult criminal court. Although Tyler had no previous criminal history or experience in the justice system, Tyler was deemed an adult for the purpose of prosecution solely because of his age and the nature of his offense. Tyler had no opportunity to request a hearing to demonstrate that he should not be subject to the harsh environment of the adult criminal justice system.
Amicus argued that Washington’s automatic decline statute requires prosecution of youth in the adult criminal justice system with no procedural protections prior to transferring the case. The automatic treatment of children as adults violates United States and Washington Supreme Court precedent and infringes upon the state and federal constitutional Due Process rights of youth. The statute subjects children to the serious consequences of the adult criminal justice system without any individualized determination of their personal attributes and characteristics of youth, their suitability for prosecution as an adult, their capacity for reform or rehabilitation, and the circumstances of the alleged crime.
Read the opinion here.