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How Juveniles Get to Criminal Court

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1994
6 pages
This report uses data from the National Juvenile Court Data Archive to present State and aggregate information on the diverse mechanisms by which juveniles arrived in criminal court in 1992.
Juvenile cases can be transferred to criminal court by means of judicial waiver, prosecutorial discretion, or statutory exclusion from juvenile court jurisdiction. In any State, one, two, or all three transfer mechanisms may be in place. As of the end of 1992, juvenile court judges in all but two States may waive jurisdiction over a case and transfer it to criminal court. Such action is usually in response to a request by the prosecutor. An estimated 11,700 juvenile delinquency cases were transferred to criminal court by judicial waiver in 1992 and accounted for fewer than 2 percent of the cases formally processed in juvenile courts that year. Prosecutorial discretion is typically limited by age and offense criteria, but national data are unavailable regarding the number of juvenile cases tried under the concurrent jurisdiction provisions that allow for this form of transfer. Finally, in 1991 an estimated 176,000 cases involving youth under age 18 were tried in criminal court in 1991 because they were considered adults under the laws of 11 States. Many States also exclude certain serious offenses from juvenile court jurisdiction; some also exclude juveniles who have been previously waived or convicted in criminal court. Figures and tables

Date Published: October 1, 1994