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NCJ Number: 192952 Find in a Library
Title: Legislative Exclusion of Offenses From Juvenile Court Jurisdiction: A History and Critique (From The Changing Borders of Juvenile Justice: Transfer of Adolescents to the Criminal Court, P 83-144, 2000, Jeffrey Fagan and Franklin E. Zimring, eds. -- See NCJ-192949)
Author(s): Barry C. Feld
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 62
Sponsoring Agency: University of Chicago Press
Chicago, IL 60637-1496
Sale Source: University of Chicago Press
Publicity Director
5801 Ellis Avenue
4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60637-1496
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Book (Hardbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter addresses the proliferation of legislative mandates for offense categories and age-offense combinations as criteria for transferring juvenile defendants from juvenile-court to criminal-court jurisdiction.
Abstract: Particularly, this chapter critically analyzes the legal history, jurisprudential theory, sentencing policy, and implementation of legislative offense exclusion and prosecutorial waiver laws over the past quarter-century. The author concludes that excluded-offense and direct-file law reforms have done little to obviate the need for judicial discretion somewhere in the justice process; however, they do symbolize a fundamental change in juvenile justice jurisprudence and policies from rehabilitation to retribution. The overarching themes of the various legislative amendments include a shift from individualized justice to just deserts, from offender to offense, from amenability to treatment to public safety, and from immature delinquent to responsible criminal. These trends in waiver policy also reflect a cultural and legal reformulation of the social construction of "youth" from innocent, immature, and dependent children to responsible, autonomous, and mature offenders. As contrasted with traditional judicial waiver proceedings that presumed immaturity and placed the burden on the prosecutor to prove criminal maturity, offense exclusion creates a de facto presumption of criminal responsibility and places the burden on a young offender to demonstrate that he really is a child, an exceedingly difficult burden. Once youths make the transition to the adult system, criminal court judges sentence them as if they are adults, impose the same sentences, send them to the same prisons, and even inflict capital punishment on them for the crimes they committed as children. It remains to be seen whether legislators can resist demagogic impulses and enact responsible youth crime policies. 2 tables, 136 references, and 5 notes
Main Term(s): Juvenile court waiver
Index Term(s): Discretionary decisions; History of juvenile justice; Juvenile court jurisdiction; Juvenile processing; Serious juvenile offenders; State laws
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