W.D.B.    V.   COM.
CRIMINAL:  Juvenile, Infancy defense
DATE RENDERED: 11/22/2006

On discretionary review, CA affirmed juvenile court’s finding that W.D.B. committed the offense of sexual abuse in the first degree and subsequent commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice as a juvenile sexual offender. Viewed in the perspective of the rehabilitative goals and philosophy of the juvenile code, CA held that the the infancy defense has been displaced by the enactment of that statutory scheme. The very purpose and principles underlying juvenile code provisions may be adversely impacted by application of adult criminal law defenses, including the infancy defense. CA noted, after all, it is W.D.B.’s young age which allows him to avail himself of the treatment and supervision provided by the juvenile code rather than face the accountability inherent in the punitive aspects of adult criminal proceedings. For this reason alone, CA found that the juvenile code statutes have incorporated the “infancy defense” into the very nature of their proceedings. Thus, W.D.B. has not been deprived of any due process right by the failure to permit him to interject that common law defense into this purely statutory proceeding.

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