To complete the survey of German criminal procedure, certain kinds of proceedings must be mentioned to which special rules of procedure apply.
Procedure in the case of proceedings against juveniles, i.e. persons between 14 and 18 years of age, is governed by the RJGG. The overriding principle in these cases is that wherever possible educational measures should be ordered, and failing these, disciplinary measures; punishments are only to be inflicted as a last resort. Moreover, all persons concerned in criminal proceedings against juveniles are in principle chosen for their educational qualities and their experience in the handling of juveniles. This applies to judges, prosecutors, and counsel functioning in juvenile courts. It is part of the duty of the Jugendrichter to ascertain the conditions of the young delinquent's home environment, and for this purpose he calls on youth-aid organizations and youth offices (Jugendimter) for assistance. He also summons the juvenile's parents to attend the trial. Wherever possible a trial is to be avoided. This can always be done when the imposition of an educational measure appears sufficient. If a trial has to be held, the public is excluded in the interest of the juvenile.
Where a case is to be heard before the Amtsrichter or the Schoffengericht, the prosecutor may apply orally or in writing for it to be heard summarily (section 212, StPO), provided the subject-matter is not complicated and immediate adjudication is possible. Where such an application has been made and granted, the trial will be held forthwith or a date set in the very near future. Summary trial is disallowed where the case is considered unsuitable for such procedure, or where the punishment imposed is likely to be more than one year imprisonment. Penal servitude or measures for security or reform cannot be imposed. Juveniles may not be tried summarily.
The Amtsrichter is empowered to inflict punishment by written order (Strafbefehl) without oral proceedings, if the prosecutor makes an application in writing to that effect, provided that the charge is not a grave one, and provided further that no severer punishment than fine, imprisonment not exceeding three months, forfeiture, or publication of judgment is thus inflicted (sections 407ff., StPO). If the defendant protests, or if the Amtsrichter does not wish to grant the application, he sets a date for the trial. If neither the defendant nor a defence counsel on his behalf...
SECTION IX - Special Proceedings
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