The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has decided the case of COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania v. In the Interest of M.W., Appellant, 2012 WL 540559, 68 EAP 2010 (Feb. 21, 2012), an appeal from an order of the Superior Court en banc, 2801 EDA 2007, 994 A.2d 620 (Pa.Super.2010), vacating an order of Judge Brenda Frazier-Clemons of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Family Division, Juvenile Branch, and remanding the case. The Justices were CASTILLE, SAYLOR, EAKIN, BAER, TODD, McCAFFERY and ORIE MELVIN. Justice Todd wrote the Opinion.
The issue was whether under Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Act, 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 6301–6365, a juvenile court is required to enter on the record an adjudication of delinquency once it has determined the juvenile committed the acts alleged in the delinquency petition, or whether the court must make an additional finding that the juvenile is in need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation, prior to entering an adjudication of delinquency. The Court held that the Juvenile Act requires a juvenile court to find both that the juvenile has committed a delinquent act and that the juvenile is in need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation, before the juvenile court may enter an adjudication of delinquency. A determination that a child has committed a delinquent act does not, on its own, warrant an adjudication of delinquency.
Accordingly, the Court reversed the contrary decision of the Superior Court. On remand, the juvenile court was directed to first determine whether M.W. is in need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation. If the juvenile court finds that M.W. is so in need, only then should the court enter an adjudication of delinquency. If, however, the court concludes that M.W. is not in need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation, it should dismiss the proceeding, terminate jurisdiction, and discharge M.W.
Karl Morgan, Esquire of the Defender Association of Philadelphia represented the Appellant.