Section 58: Adjudication as delinquent child or youthful offender
Section 58. At the hearing of a complaint against a child the court shall hear the testimony of any witnesses who appear and take such evidence relative to the case as shall be produced. If the allegations against a child are proved beyond a reasonable doubt, he may be adjudged a delinquent child, or in lieu thereof, the court may continue the case without a finding and, with the consent of the child and at least one of the child's parents or guardians, place said child on probation; provided, however, that any such probation may be imposed until such child reaches age eighteen or age nineteen in the case of a child whose case is disposed of after he has attained his eighteenth birthday or age 20 in the case of a child whose case is disposed of after he has attained his nineteenth birthday; provided further, that a complaint alleging a child to be a delinquent child by reason of having violated the provisions of section 13B, 13B1/2, 13B3/4, section 22A, 22B, 22C, 23, 23A, section 23B or section 50 of chapter 265 shall not be placed on file or continued without a finding. Said probation may include a requirement, subject to agreement by the child and at least one of the child's parents or guardians, that the child do work or participate in activities of a type and for a period of time deemed appropriate by the court.
If a child is adjudicated a delinquent child on a complaint, the court may place the case on file or may place the child in the care of a probation officer for such time and on such conditions as it deems appropriate or may commit him to the custody of the department of youth services, but the probationary or commitment period shall not be for a period longer than until such child attains the age of eighteen, or nineteen in the case of a child whose case is disposed of after he has attained his eighteenth birthday or age 20 in the case of a child whose case is disposed of after he has attained his nineteenth birthday.
If a child is adjudicated a youthful offender on an indictment, the court may sentence him to such punishment as is provided by law for the offense. The court shall make a written finding, stating its reasons therefor, that the present and long-term public safety would be best protected by:
(a) a sentence provided by law; or
(b) a combination sentence which shall be a commitment to the department of youth services until he reaches the age of twenty-one, and an adult sentence to a house of correction or to the state prison as is provided by law for the offense. The adult sentence shall be suspended pending successful completion of a term of probation, which shall include, but not be limited to, the successful completion of the aforementioned commitment to the department of youth services. Any juvenile receiving a combination sentence shall be under the sole custody and control of the department of youth services unless or until discharged by the department or until the age of twenty-one, whichever occurs first, and thereafter under the supervision of the juvenile court probation department until the age of twenty-one and thereafter by the adult probation department; provided, however, that in no event shall the aggregate sentence imposed on the combination sentence exceed the maximum adult sentence provided by law; or
(c) a commitment to the department of youth services until he reaches the age of twenty-one.
In making such determination the court shall conduct a sentencing recommendation hearing to determine the sentence by which the present and long-term public safety would be best protected. At such hearing, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors: the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; victim impact statement; a report by a probation officer concerning the history of the youthful offender; the youthful offender's court and delinquency records; the success or lack of success of any past treatment or delinquency dispositions regarding the youthful offender; the nature of services available through the juvenile justice system; the youthful offender's age and maturity; and the likelihood of avoiding future criminal conduct. In addition, the court may consider any other factors it deems relevant to disposition. No such sentence shall be imposed until a pre-sentence investigation report has been filed by the probation department and made available to the parties no less than seven days prior to sentencing.
A youthful offender who is sentenced as is provided by law either to a state prison or to a house of correction but who has not yet reached his eighteenth birthday shall be held in a youthful offender unit separate from the general population of adult prisoners; provided, however, that such youthful offender shall be classified at a facility other than the reception and diagnostic center at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution, Concord, and shall not be held at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution, Cedar Junction, prior to his eighteenth birthday.
If it is alleged in the complaint upon which the child is so adjudged that a penal law of the commonwealth, a city ordinance or a town by-law has been violated, the court may commit such child to the custody of the commissioner of youth services and authorize him to place such child in the charge of any person, and, if at any time thereafter the child proves unmanageable, to transfer such child to that facility which in the opinion of said commissioner, after study, will best serve the needs of the child. The department of youth services shall provide for the maintenance, in whole or part, of any child so placed in the charge of any person.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, a person adjudicated a delinquent child by reason of a violation of paragraph (a), (c) or (d) of section ten or section ten E of chapter two hundred and sixty-nine, shall be committed to the custody of the commissioner of youth services who shall place such child in the custody of a facility supported by the commonwealth for the care, custody and training of such delinquent children for a period of at least one hundred and eighty days or until such child attains his eighteenth birthday or his nineteenth birthday in the case of a child whose case is disposed of after he has attained his eighteenth birthday, whichever first occurs, provided, however, that said period of time shall not be reduced or suspended.
Upon the second or subsequent violation of said paragraph (a), (c) or (d) of said section ten or ten E of said chapter two hundred and sixty-nine, the commissioner of youth services shall place such child in the custody of a facility supported by the commonwealth for the care, custody and training of such delinquent child for not less than one year; provided, however, that said period of time shall not be reduced or suspended.
The court may make an order for payment by the child's parents or guardian from the child's property, or by any other person responsible for the care and support of said child, to the institution, department, division, organization or person furnishing care and support at times to be stated in an order by the court of sums not exceeding the cost of said support after ability to pay has been determined by the court; provided, however, that no order for the payment of money shall be entered until the person by whom payments are to be made shall have been summoned before the court and given an opportunity to be heard. The court may from time to time, upon petition by, or notice to the person ordered to pay such sums of money, revise or alter such order or make a new order, as the circumstances may require.
The court may commit such delinquent child to the department of youth services, but it shall not commit such child to any institution supported by the commonwealth for the custody, care and training of delinquent children or juvenile offenders.
Except in cases in which the child has attained the age of majority, whenever a court of competent jurisdiction adjudicates a child as delinquent and commits the child to the department of youth services, the court, in order to comply with the requirements contained in the federal Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 and any amendments thereto, shall receive evidence in order to determine whether continuation of the child in his home is contrary to his best interest, and whether reasonable efforts were made prior to the commitment of the child to the department, to prevent or eliminate the need for removal from his home; or whether an emergency situation existed making such efforts impossible. No such determination shall be made unless the parent or guardian of the delinquent shall have been summoned before the court and, if present, given an opportunity to be heard. The court, in its discretion, may make its determinations concerning said best interest and reasonable efforts in written form, but in the absence of a written determination to the contrary, it shall be presumed that the court did find that continuation of the child in his home was contrary to his best interest and that reasonable efforts to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from his home did occur. Nothing in this section shall diminish the department's responsibility to prevent delinquent acts and to protect the public safety.