Ohio Supreme Court decision could determine future of convicted juveniles

Ohio Supreme Court decision could determine future of convicted juveniles

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A case held up in the Ohio Supreme Court could determine whether or not several teens who were tried as an adult could receive a second trial.

Devonte Brown, 17, was sentenced to life in prison in adult court for stabbing his ex-girlfriend and her brother to death.

Juvenile prosecutor Lori Olender says that was a day she hopes to never relive again.

But depending on a ruling by the Supreme Court, cases like Brown's will be up for a retrial meaning more work for prosecutors, more bills for taxpayers and more pain for families.

"This is victims' families of people deceased who got killed and they will have to go through this whole thing all over," Olender said.

On the other hand, judges on the court want to ensure every possible measure is taken before certifying teens as adults.

There are two types of certification in the juvenile court system.

Mandatory certification is for teens who have a violent past and are at a certain age. That process requires on hearing before they are certified as adults.

Discretionary certification involves multiple hearings where the prosecutor has to prove the teen can not be rehabilitated in the juvenile system before they turn 21.

Ohio's Supreme Court feels Mandatory certification is unconstitutional.

"This ruling didn't say if is was retroactive so how far does it go back?" Olender said. "If they have to come back here for that second phase, is everything in the adult phase gone?"

With so many questions unanswered, the ruling remains on hold and it is unknown when the Supreme Court will take action.

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