Massachusetts Law About the Juvenile Justice System
Child Requiring Assistance
(formerly Children in Need of Services (CHINS))
- MGL c.119, s.52-74
- St. 2013, Ch. 84, eff. 9-18-13: An Act Expaning Juvenile Jurisdiction. Places 17-year-olds accused of crimes under the jurisdiction of the state’s juvenile courts.
- St.2014, c.189 Juvenile Life Sentences for First Degree Murder. Amends existing law to permit parole for juveniles serving life sentences for first degree murder.
Comm. v. Gavin G., 437 Mass. 470 (2002). "The SJC held that while Juvenile Court judges do have the authority to order expungement of police records, no such authority exists to order expungement of probation records."
Diatchenko v. District Attorney for the Suffolk Dist., 466 Mass. 655 (2013). The SJC concluded "that the imposition of a sentence of life without the possibility of parole on juveniles who are under the age of eighteen when they commit the crime of murder in the first degree is unconstitutional..."
Kenniston v. Dept. of Youth Services, 453 Mass. 179 (2009). The SJC held that the law permitting DYS to hold eighteen year olds for an additional three years if they "would be physically dangerous to the public" (G. L. c. 120, §§ 17-19) is unconstitutional "because it violates substantive due process requirements."
Dispositions in a Delinquency Cases, Children's Law Center. Explains the various dispositions, including dismissal, continued without a finding (CWOF), commitment to DYS and more.
Frequently Asked Questions for Youth (about the juvenile justice system), Youth Advocacy Department. Includes info on court, DYS and more.
Frequently Asked Questions for Lawyers and Advocates (about the juvenile justice system), Youth Advocacy Department. Includes info on bail, DYS, immigration, public housing and more.
Frequently Asked Questions for Parents (about the juvenile justice system), Youth Advocacy Department. Includes info on court, DYS and more.
Handbook for Parents, Legal Guardians and Custodians in Child Requiring Assistance Cases, Mass. Juvenile Court, November 5, 2012. Explains the process in plain language.
Juvenile Justice Standards, IJA-ABA, 1996. These standards were designed by the Institute of Judicial Administration and the American Bar Association to establish the best possible juvenile justice system for our society.
Now That You're in Juvenile Court..., Youth Advocacy Department. Fact sheet for kids on what happens in juvenile court.
An Overview of the Law of Probation Violations, Juvenile Defense Network. Outline (with citations) of probation, conditions, hearings, violations and consequences.
Quick Reference on CRA (Child Requiring Assistance), Children's Law Center, June 1, 2013. A handy guide for child advocates in Massachusetts.
Sealing Juvenile Records, Children's Law Center. Explains the process of having a juvenile record sealed.
What Happens When I "Plead Out"?, Children's Law Center. "A plea is a "deal" that your attorney works out with the prosecutor." Explains the process of accepting a plea and appearing in court.