What determines if a teen should be tried as an adult?

By Tiffany Teasley – bio | email
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - We only show their hands and feet on television to protect their youth and identity, but some teens in the juvenile court system aren't seen as kids in the eyes of the court.
"Some of these juveniles who are acting as if they were adults, should be transferred to the adult court," said Presiding Judge Thomas Lipps of the Hamilton County Juvenile Court.
Lipps says there are three main factors that determine if a teen should be bound over to adult court.
"The age of the defendant at the time of the offense, the seriousness of the offense, and the prior attempts at rehabilitation," Lipps said.
There are mandatory bind over criteria and discretionary bind over criteria where judges consider factors such as the emotional state of the teen and the defendant's relationship with the alleged victim.
"A person can be bound over as young as 14 or as old as 17," Lipps said.
Judges must also consider that juveniles can old be held until they're 21.
"So, if the particular offense would demand a longer period of time, then a transfer would be more likely," Lipps said.
Lipps says teens eligible for bind overs have decreased in Hamilton County, but the proliferation of guns, which weigh heavy in the bind over decision, has counter-acted that decrease.
"Typically if a person is over 16 and had a firearm during the offense, the judges doesn't even have the discretion to decide," Lipps said.

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