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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69677 Find in a Library
Title: Certification of Juveniles to Adult Court
Journal: Pepperdine Law Review  Volume:4  Issue:3  Dated:(Summer 1977)  Pages:497-522
Author(s): J N Sorrentino; G K Olsen
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 26
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Current laws governing transfer of juveniles to criminal court are surveyed, with attention to legislative versus judicial waiver, minimum age and offense requirements, standards of criteria, and procedural rights.
Abstract: Although most juvenile codes contained some provisions for transfering minors accused of criminal offenses to the adult courts, the transfer issue did not become prominent until 1966, with the Supreme Court's Kent v. United States ruling that minors are entitled to a hearing and other due process rights before transfer decisions can be made. Most State laws governing transfer place responsibility on the juvenile court, aided by certain standards. In a minority of States, the legislature determines the conditions for transfer. Many transfer statutes contain no minimum age provision or vary the age limit according to the offense. States do not agree on the event to be used for establishing the significant age: the time of the criminal act, the filing of charges, or the waiver proceedings. In several States, eligibility for transfer depends on the seriousness of the offense. The minimum age and offense requirements have served to heighten the importance of the youth's age in a transfer decision. Guidelines for waivers prepared by the District of Columbia Juvenile Court were attached to the Supreme Court's Kent decision and subsequently have been incorporated into many transfer laws. Although they emphasize the amenability of the child to treatment by the juvenile court, the goal of the guidelines is retribution and punishment. The amenability standard is suspect because of its vagueness and failure to conceive that lack of available rehabilitive resources might reflect inadequacies in a particular juvenile court. After the Kent decision, most States statutes attempt to provide application of procedural rights to transfer hearings, but notice requirements, right to counsel, access to official records, and rules of evidence vary widely. Reviewing courts have consistently placed the burden of proof of transfer decisions on the States. In a transfer hearing, a recidivism record can count heavily against the offender. Immediate appeal procedures should be available to a transferred child, but a majority of States require the accused to await the outcome of a criminal trial before appealing while others provide that only final orders are appealable from juvenile courts. In an encouraging trend, recent legislation has attempted to preserve some privileges of juvenile status in event of transfer. Footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Juvenile codes; Juvenile court waiver; Juvenile courts
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