Commonwealth v. J.A.Annotate this Case
The phrase “serious bodily harm” in the youthful offender statute, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 119, 54 contemplates harm to human beings, not animals.
A grand jury returned two youthful offender indictments against Juvenile, charging him with cruelty to animals and bestiality. The juvenile court allowed Juvenile’s motion to dismiss, ruling that the phrase “serious bodily harm” in the youthful offender statute refers only to human victims. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the “serious bodily harm” referenced in the statute does not apply to animals, and therefore, Juvenile’s conduct did not meet the requirements of the statute.