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The Juvenile Offenders Process at the Prosecutor

Unless a public prosecutor releases a suspected juvenile, the public prosecutor must ask a judge for a pre-indictment detention order within 24 h after receiving the juvenile. The pre-indictment detention period is 10 days. The public prosecutor may ask a judge for an extension of the detention for up to 10 days, if necessary. A suspected juvenile’s maximum term of detention before being referred to the Family Court is 23 days (including the detention on the part of the police). A prosecutor should transfer a suspected juvenile to a Family Court even when a detention is more necessary. The Family Court judge has the right to suspend an indictment in lieu of the prosecutor, which is an important exception for the “principle of appropriateness” (Opportunitatsprinzip). However, the suspected juvenile can be reverse referred to the prosecutor when the Family Court judge concludes that the juvenile offender committed a serious crime (Cho 2004). The prosecutor who investigates a reverse-referred juvenile offender can file the case in a district criminal court or in a summary court according to the adult criminal procedure. The prosecutor can also drop the reverse-referred case when he or she cannot prove the juvenile offender guilty. The Criminal Court should transfer the juvenile to Family Court when protection and treatment are required as a result of the classification of the case.

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