Citizens for Juvenile Justice

On November 25, 2020, Proskauer filed a motion for leave to file an amicus brief on behalf of Citizens for Juvenile Justice and the Committee for Public Counsel Services, Youth Advocacy Division in support of Raymond Concepcion, a youth with disabilities who was automatically tried as an adult, convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 20 years.  Proskauer’s brief urged the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts to find that section 74 of the Youthful Offender Act is unconstitutional, reverse Raymond’s conviction and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

Background

When Raymond was 15 years old, two adult gang members ordered him to shoot a stranger, promising that he could leave the gang if he complied.  Out of fear, Raymond did as instructed and shot a man, killing him.  Raymond has an IQ of 66 and the developmental maturity of an eight- or nine-year-old.  As a younger child living in the Dominican Republic, Raymond suffered emotional distress after witnessing shootings of multiple family members.  When he was 12 years old, Raymond moved to Boston, where he attended three different public schools and failed nearly all his classes.  An expert testified to Raymond’s psychological, social and intellectual capacities.  Nevertheless, pursuant to section 74 of the Youthful Offender Act, due to his age and alleged offense, Raymond was automatically tried in adult court, where he was automatically sentenced to life imprisonment and given an above-minimum parole eligibility date.  Raymond’s youth and intellectual disability were disregarded at his indictment, trial and sentencing.