Richard E. Redding, J.D., Ph.D., is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor of Law, and Professor of Psychology at Chapman University. He has published nearly 100 articles and book chapters in leading scientific and legal publications, co-edited Juvenile Delinquency: Prevention, Assessment, and Intervention (Oxford University Press, 2005), and authored the OJJDP Bulletin, Juvenile Transfer Laws: An Effective Deterrent to Delinquency? (2008).
Knowledgeable Judges Make a Difference: Judicial Beliefs Affect Juvenile Court Transfer Decisions
Article first published online: 23 AUG 2011
© 2011 National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Juvenile and Family Court Journal
Volume 62, Issue 3, pages 15–24, Summer 2011
How to Cite
Redding, R. E. and Hensl, K. B. (2011), Knowledgeable Judges Make a Difference: Judicial Beliefs Affect Juvenile Court Transfer Decisions. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 62: 15–24. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-6988.2011.01063.x
Kursten Brooke Hensl, J.D., Ph.D., received her law degree from Villanova University in 2006 and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Drexel University in 2011. She has worked as a litigation and dispute resolution associate at an international law firm and currently holds a clinical research position on a federally funded national study of mental illness and substance abuse.
- Issue published online: 23 AUG 2011
- Article first published online: 23 AUG 2011
This study examined how judicial knowledge and attitudes about transfer affects transfer decisions by juvenile court judges. Participants included 232 juvenile court judges from around the country who completed a vignette survey that presented a prototypical case involving a serious juvenile offender. Participants were asked to decide whether the juvenile should be transferred and to rate his rehabilitative potential. Judges who believed in the deterrent effects of transfer were more likely to recommend that the juvenile be transferred and to rate him as having lower rehabilitative potential. More experienced judges saw greater rehabilitative potential in the juvenile and were less likely to transfer him to the criminal court. Overall, judges tended to think that transfer lacked general and specific deterrent effects, endorsed rehabilitative over punitive goals in sentencing, and felt positively about the juvenile justice system's effectiveness in handling serious offenders. Yet, a sizable minority of judges felt otherwise. The implications of the findings for judicial education and legal advocacy are discussed.