Juvenile convictions

Are juvenile convictions subject to discovery and potential use at trial?  — Yes.

Mil. R. Evid. 609(d): Evidence of juvenile adjudications is generally not admissible under this rule. The military judge, however, may allow evidence of a juvenile adjudication of a witness other than the accused if conviction of the offense would be admissible to attack the credibility of an adult and the military judge is satisfied that admission in evidence is necessary for a fair determination of the issue of guilt or innocence.

Fed. R. Evid. 609(d):  Evidence of juvenile adjudications is generally not admissible under this rule. The court may, however, in a criminal case allow evidence of a juvenile adjudication of a witness other than the accused if conviction of the offense would be admissible to attack the credibility of an adult and the court is satisfied that admission in evidence is necessary for a fair determination of the issue of guilt or innocence.

Based on a fair reading of the Rule the answer is yes, if you can make a connection to the case.

Child abuse allegations:  Can you make a credible argument that the child is making a false allegation of physical or sexual abuse.  And we know that happens.  If you can and the child and you believe the child has a juvenile conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude then the information should be discoverable and useable in cross-examination.  Also, I would argue the prosecution has a self-executing [n.1] constitutional duty to turn that information over the to the defense in discovery.

Sexual assault allegations:  Do you have a 18 year old enlisted person allegation a sexual assault, alleging sexual harassment, etc.  Here again my view is that a juvenile conviction for a crime of moral turpitude is discoverable and admissible.  The reason is the age of the “victim” at the time of the complaint and testimony.

Drug offenses: Do you have hee 18 year old narc or alleged co-accused against other alleged druggies.  There’s a motive to lie and shift blame.  Here again I think the closeness in time and the issue of credibility are the factors and reasons why juvenile convictions for crimes of moral turpitude are discoverable and useable.  In drug cases another reason would be to show the witness lied on their enlistment contract or SF86.

Any offense:  If there is an indication of a juvenile conviction then there is the possibility of a lie at the time of enlistment or filling out the SF 86.  Here it’s not the facts of the conviction, it’s the existence of the conviction to show the witness lied under oath at the time of enlistment or completing the SF86 by failing to disclose or some other misrepresentation.

These are four examples, I’m sure there are more.

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n.1  I have and continue to argue that Brady, Kyles, and other cases create a self-executing duty on the prosecution to seek out and produce certain types of information.  Contrary to arguments of some trial counsel, the defense does not need to make a discovery request for this information and the prosecution is required to seek it out.

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