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Trying Juveniles as Adults in Criminal Court: An Analysis of State Transfer Provisions

NCJ Number
Date Published
Patrick Griffin, Patricia Torbet, Linda Szymanski, National Center for Juvenile Justice
This report delineates the distinctions among discretionary, mandatory and presumptive waivers of juveniles into adult criminal court.
From 1992 through 1995, 40 States and the District of Columbia passed laws making it easier for juveniles to be tried as adults. To better understand the growing trend and the potential impact on youth crime, this paper examines the nature of offenses that trigger such transfers and various mechanisms used to effect them. The paper discusses direct file provisions, which typically authorize the prosecutor to determine jurisdiction based on age/offense categories, and statutory exclusions, which remove certain offenses or age/offense categories from the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. In addition, the report covers "once an adult/always an adult" provisions; transfer for nonviolent offenses; requirements for additional pretransfer findings; evidentiary standards for waivers and transfers; transfer treatment based on an individual's record; devices to limit prosecutorial discretion; and minimum age provisions. Notes, tables, appendix
Date Created: October 17, 2017