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NCJ Number: 206146 Find in a Library
Title: Trying and Sentencing Juveniles as Adults: An Analysis of State Transfer and Blended Sentencing Laws
Author(s): Patrick Griffin
Corporate Author: National Ctr for Juvenile Justice
Research Division
United States of America
Date Published: October 2003
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: National Ctr for Juvenile Justice
Pittsburgh, PA 15203-2363
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Washington, DC 20531
Sale Source: National Ctr for Juvenile Justice
Research Division
3700 South Water Street, Suite 200
Pittsburgh, PA 15203-2363
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report presents a broad overview of current legal mechanisms in all 50 States through which juvenile offenders may reach the adult criminal justice system.
Abstract: Mechanisms for moving serious juvenile offenders to adult criminal courts have been available since juvenile justice emerged as a separate practice. Recently, these mechanisms have become much more prominent as State’s demonstrate a “get tough” approach to juvenile justice. New transfer and blended sentencing laws have spread quickly across the United States. State transfer laws define categories of juvenile offenders who, because of numerous characteristics, may be tried for their offenses in adult criminal courts. Blended sentencing laws focus on the correctional system in which the juvenile will be sentenced, providing sanctions within the juvenile correctional system or the adult correctional system. The report presents a table illustrating which States have transfer and blended sentencing provisions and how they are enacted in each State. The use of the traditional discretionary waiver provision is the most common form of transfer law, with 45 States giving juvenile court judges the discretion to waive juvenile offenders to adult criminal courts. A textbox offers information on how the United States Supreme Court’s 1966 Kent decision influenced State waiver laws. Next, the report discusses presumptive and mandatory waivers and identifies the States that have these provisions and under what circumstances they are utilized. A total of 29 States have statutory exclusion laws that bypass the juvenile court system altogether for certain categories of juvenile offenders. A listing of States with statutory exclusion laws and the conditions under which they are used is presented in table format. Fifteen States have direct file laws that allow prosecutors to choose whether to try juvenile offenders in juvenile courts or adult criminal courts. In most States, once a juvenile is transferred to an adult criminal court, the juvenile is considered an adult for all subsequent prosecutions. Next, blended sentencing laws are examined more closely. Fifteen States have some form of blended sentencing provision, and in most States, the blended sentencing criteria is similar to, but broader than, the criteria for transferring a juvenile to adult criminal court. Fail-safe mechanisms in 30 States allow juveniles to prove that they belong in the juvenile correctional system. Tables, figures, endnotes
Main Term(s): Juvenile case disposition; Juvenile court waiver
Index Term(s): Adult felony system; Criminal law; Juvenile court jurisdiction; State juvenile laws; State-by-state analyses
Note: Technical Assistance to the Juvenile Court, Special Project Bulletin
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