Self-incrimination and denial in the juvenile transfer evaluation.

R. Barnum,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law 18(4): 413-27, 1990.
Clinical evaluation of alleged juvenile delinquents regarding possible transfer to adult court must be conducted before adjudication of the facts of the case. This requirement leads to problems for the juvenile court and for the psychiatric consultant in managing certain potentially incriminating information that the defendant may reveal in the evaluation process. Both explicity self-incriminating information, and also denial of involvement in the alleged offense, present problems in this regard. Explorations of procedural protections for dealing with explicity self-incriminating information, and of the clinical and forensic problems in interpreting defendants' denial of culpability in these circumstances, do not yield fully satisfying answers to the problems. The author suggests some procedural compromises, and discusses the dilemma at the boundary of juvenile court jurisdiction that underlies these problems.