The Center for Law, Brain & Behavior puts the most accurate and actionable neuroscience in the hands of judges, lawyers, policymakers and journalists—people who shape the standards and practices of our legal system and affect its impact on people’s lives. We work to make the legal system more effective and more just for all those affected by the law.

When the Science Says Children But the Law Says Adults: Trying and Sentencing Youth as Adults

April 4, 2023, 12:30 PM ET

Watch the recording here!

All 50 states have transfer laws that either allow or require children to be prosecuted in adult criminal court for certain offenses. Attorney Marsha Levick, Esq. provided an overview of the transfer law legal landscape and potential legal challenges to transfer laws. Neuroscientist BJ Casey, Ph.D. spoke about the science of adolescence and explore whether there is a neuroscientific basis for transfer laws as an effective deterrent to delinquency and consistent with rehabilitation. Stephanie Tabashneck, PsyD, JD then led a discussion on the role science can play in challenges to transfer laws.


Introduction: Carmel Shachar, Executive Director, Petrie-Flom Center

BJ Casey, Ph.D. Christina L. Williams Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Neuroscience and Behavior, Barnard College, Columbia University and The Justice Collaboratory, Yale Law School

Marsha Levick, J.D., Chief Legal Officer and Co-Founder, Juvenile Law Center and Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Stephanie Tabashneck, Psy.D., J.D., Senior Fellow in Law and Applied Neuroscience, CLBB and the Petrie-Flom Center