Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency Part 4, § 342.2: Evidence in fact-finding hearings; required quantum

When a child is accused of committing a crime, the child's case is heard in Family Court and not in criminal court. Instead of the child being subjected to a criminal trial, a child who is between the ages of 7 and 16 would go through a fact-finding hearing where it would be determined whether or not the child is a juvenile delinquent. However, some of the rules and procedures required in juvenile delinquent hearings are the same or similar as those that apply to criminal court hearings. New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 4, Section 342.2, describes some of the requirements related to the admission of evidence and a finding that a child is a juvenile delinquent.

  1. The only evidence that admissible in a fact-finding hearing is evidence that is competent, material and relevant.
  2. In order for a child to be adjudicated to be a juvenile delinquent, a determination must be made that the child committed the acts beyond a reasonable doubt.

Example

After juvenile delinquency proceedings Charles M. was adjudged to be a juvenile delinquent based on committing acts which, if committed by an adult, would have constituted the crime of robbery in the second degree. Charles M. appealed the determination, arguing that the finding was against the weight of the evidence in violation of the reasonable doubt provisions of New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 4, Section 342.2. Charles M. testified that he was present when the robbery was committed but did not participate in it. However, based on Charles M.'s testimony and other evidence, the Family Court concluded that Charles M. was an active participant and that the Family Court's fact-finding determination was not against the weight of the evidence.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Fact-finding hearing; order of procedure: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 4, section 342.1
  2. Fact-finding hearing; removal: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 4, section 346.1
Remedy

If a minor is adjudged to be a juvenile delinquent based on evidence that was not relevant, material or competent, or if a minor is adjudged to be a juvenile delinquent against the weight of the evidence, then the minor through his or her counsel has the right to appeal the decision to a higher court.

Family Court Act, Article 4, Child Protective Services, Part 3, section 342.2: Evidence in fact-finding hearings; required quantum
  1. Only evidence that is competent, material and relevant may be admitted at a fact-finding hearing.
  2. Any determination at the conclusion of a fact-finding hearing that a respondent committed an act or acts which if committed by an adult would be a crime must be based on proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
  3. An order of removal pursuant to a direction authorized by sections 220.10, 310.85 and 330.25 of the criminal procedure law constitutes proof beyond a reasonable doubt and a determination that the respondent did the act or acts specified therein in accordance with section 725.05 of the criminal procedure law.
New York Juvenile Delinquency Lawyer

If your child has been accused of committing a crime, it is critical that your child has experienced representation. Juvenile delinquency procedure is complicated and the rules are often different from the rules that apply to criminal court cases. The outcome of your child's case could have a significant impact on his or her future. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully representing juvenile clients in New York Family Court as well as in criminal court who have been accused of committing misdemeanors and felonies.

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