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[Developmental aspects in expert testimony for juvenile court].

Authors
  • Schepker, Renate
  • Toker, Mehmet
Type
Published Article
Journal
Zeitschrift für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2007
Volume
35
Issue
1
Identifiers
PMID: 17230425
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The history of German legislation resulting in the developmental orientation of juvenile court law (JCL) led to setting the minimum age of criminal responsibility at the age of 14, which places Germany within the average range compared to other EU countries, even though most skills regarding the discernment of right- or wrong-doing are developed in earlier stages of life. The requirement put by section sign 3 JCL that legal discernment be emotionally grounded and the necessity to explore context factors (family or group, specific situation) make psychiatric evaluation of adolescents in court a delicate task. It is indispensable that new findings in neurobiology be considered upon making an assessment of the individual neuro-developmental status. In contrast, an assessment according to section sign 105 JCL considers the overall development irrespective of the crime(s). Developmental issues regarding legal prognosis are discussed for some types of offences (homicide, sexual offences, arson).

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