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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77320 Find in a Library
Title: Notes Toward a Jurisprudence of Waiver (From Major Issues in Juvenile Justice Information and Training - Readings in Public Policy, P 193-205, 1981, John C Hall et al, ed. - See NCJ-77318)
Author(s): F E Zimring
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Academy for Contemporary Problems
Sale Source: Academy for Contemporary Problems
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Arguments for and against judicial transfers of juveniles to adult court are examined, and essential elements of a coherent, defensible waiver policy are described.
Abstract: The use of judicial transfers for juveniles is similar to capital punishment for adults in that both are characterized by low frequency of use, discretionary decisionmaking, ultimacy, and inconsistency with other forms of intervention within the justice system. Although these characteristics constitute a strong argument in favor of the abolition of waiver, the practice should be retained. The juvenile system is preferable to the adult system for juvenile offenders for most young offenders under age 17 or 18. However, some cases will inevitably arise in which the minimum punishment believed necessary by the court and the community is greater than that which could or should be available in the juvenile system. Alternatives to waiver, such as increased punishment within juvenile court, a lower age of maximum initial juvenile court jurisdiction, and legislative provisions excluding juvenile court jurisdiction for specified offenses and offenders have been tried, alone or in combination, in various American jurisdictions. The substantial social costs involved in each of these alternatives to waiver provide the main justification for arguing that refining and reforming discretionary waiver is the most appropriate solution. For example, lowering the maximum age of jurisdiction would be an overly broad change in that the vast majority of juvenile offenses are property crimes. The standard for waiving jurisdiction should be that transfer to criminal court is necessary when the maximum punishment available in juvenile court falls short of the minimum punishment necessary if a particular offender is guilty. Essential elements of a waiver policy should be appellate review of the waiver process and a punishment policy in criminal court which explicitly recognizes that age must be considered in the determination of appropriate punishment. Thus, effective reform of the waiver decision in juvenile court ultimately depends on reform in the criminal court. Footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Judicial discretion; Juvenile court waiver; Juvenile justice reform
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