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Delinquency Cases Waived to Criminal Court, 2020

NCJ Number
306201
Author(s)
Date Published
December 2023
Length
4 pages
Publication Series
Annotation

This fact sheet published by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the National Institute of Justice presents estimates of and statistics about delinquency cases waived to criminal court in 2020.

Abstract

:   The National Juvenile Court Data Archive generates national estimates of the number of cases judicially waived to criminal court. This fact sheet published by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the National Institute of Justice presents statistics and estimates for 2020 and compares these numbers with those of earlier years, going back to 1985. All states have established an upper age of original jurisdiction for juvenile courts (age 16 or 17, depending on the state). States also have various laws that allow youth younger than the upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction (“juveniles”) to be tried as adults. There are three basic types of transfer laws. Concurrent jurisdiction laws allow prosecutors discretion on whether to file a case in juvenile or criminal court. Statutory exclusion laws grant criminal courts original jurisdiction over certain classes of cases involving juveniles. Judicial waiver laws authorize or require juvenile court judges to remove certain youth from juvenile court jurisdiction to be tried as adults in criminal court. There are three broad categories for judicial waiver: discretionary, presumptive, and mandatory. Nearly all states (46) have discretionary judicial waiver provisions in which juvenile court judges have discretion to waive jurisdiction over individual youth and refer their cases to criminal court. These laws authorize, but do not require, transfer in cases that meet threshold requirements for waiver. Juvenile courts are advised to not only consider the severity of the offense committed but additional factors such as the youth’s prior involvement in the justice system and their prospects of rehabilitation. Some states (12) have presumptive waiver laws, which designate a category of cases in which waiver to criminal court is presumed to be appropriate. Other states (12) provide for mandatory waiver in cases that meet certain age, offense, or prior record criteria. 

Date Published: December 1, 2023