Competence to proceed evaluations


Randy K. Otto

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Although the first juvenile court was established a little over 100 years ago,1 the ability of youth to participate in legal proceedings typically was not the subject of discussion and consideration until more recently.2 In the past 15 years, however, increasing attention has been paid to juveniles’ adjudicative competence. Researchers have begun to study the competence-related abilities of youth, state legislatures have revised the sections of their juvenile codes devoted to adjudicative competence, and legal commentators and appellate courts have debated what is presently and what should be required of juveniles in this context.