A Youth Part as Legal Innovation and Legal Circumvention: Judicial Interactive Strategies when Juveniles are Tried as Adults

Caroline Joy DeBrovner, Pace University

This paper bears the fruit of over a year's worth of close ethnographic observation, attending the calendar day of Judge Michael A. Corriero. In 1992, Judge Corriero established a Youth Part where he could preside over all the juveniles in New York County who are tried as adults (under the 1978 Juvenile Offender (JO) Law). As often as possible, Judge Corriero utilizes Alternative to Incarceration Programs and grants Youthful Offender (YO) Status that prevents the young defendants from being permanently saddled with a felony conviction. Verbatim documentation of the verbal interaction between Judge Corriero and the young defendants imparts rich anecdotal evidence; it will allow the panel audience to feel a part of the unfolding drama of the courtroom process. My research findings will focus on four areas: 1) the social construction of childhood in the context of this Youth Part; 2) the methods and strategies that Judge Corriero has innovated in his Youth Part to accomplish an interactive rehabilitative process; 3) the strategies to involve the young people's family in the Youth Part; and 4) strategies used to deal sensitively and constructively with the challenges of both male and female adolescent gender issues.

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Updated 05/20/2006