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Juveniled Justice System Structure & Process
Juveniles Tried as Adults
Q: How do statutory exclusion provisions vary by state?
A: Statutory exclusion provisions vary considerably with respect to minimum age and offense criteria.

Statutory exclusion offense and minimum age criteria, 2009

State Minimum age for statutory exclusion
                    Statutory exclusion offense and minimum age criteria                    
Any criminal offense Certain felonies Capital crimes Murder Certain person offenses Certain property offenses Certain drug offenses Certain weapon offenses

Alabama 16 16 16 16
Alaska 16 16 16
Arizona 15 15 15 15

California 14 14 14
Delaware 15 15
Florida NS 16 NS 16 16

Georgia 13 13 13
Idaho 14 14 14 14 14
Illinois 13 15 13 15 15

Indiana 16 16 16 16 16 16
Iowa 16 16 16 16
Louisiana 15 15 15

Maryland 14 14 16 16 16
Massachusetts 14 14
Minnesota 16 16

Mississippi 13 13 13
Montana 17 17 17 17 17 17
Nevada NS 16* NS NS 16

New Mexico 15 15
New York 13 13 13 14 14
Oklahoma 13 13

Oregon 15 15 15
Pennsylvania NS NS 15
South Carolina 16 16

South Dakota 16 16
Utah 16 16 16
Vermont 14 14 14 14

Washington 16 16 16 16
Wisconsin 10 10 10

Note: Ages in the minimum age column may not apply to all offense restrictions, but represent the youngest possible age at which a juvenile may be judicially waived to criminal court. "NS" indicates that no minimum age is specified.

* In Nevada, the exclusion applies to any juvenile with a previous felony adjudication, regardless of the current offense charged, if the current offense involves the use or threatened use of a firearm.

  • All States have provisions for trying certain juveniles as adults in criminal court. This is known as transfer to criminal court. There are three basic transfer mechanisms: judicial waiver, statutory exclusion, and concurrent jurisdiction.
  • Legislatures "transfer" large numbers of young offenders to criminal court by enacting statutes that exclude certain cases from juvenile court jurisdiction. As of the end of the 2009 legislative session, 29 states had statutory exclusion provisions.
  • Under statutory (or legislative) exclusion provisions, State statutes exclude certain serious, violent, or repeat juvenile offenders from juvenile court jurisdiction. In most States, statutory exclusion provisions are limited by age, offense, and/or prior court history criteria.
  • The offenses most often excluded are murder, capital crimes in general (offenses punishable by death or life imprisonment), and other serious offenses against persons.
  • Some States (15) hold a hearing in juvenile court to determine if there is probable cause to believe the juvenile is of the required age and committed an offense targeted by the provision. Such provisions are referred to as mandatory waiver and were previously considered statutory exclusion.
  • Minor offenses, such as traffic, watercraft, fish or game, and local ordinance violations, are also often excluded from juvenile court jurisdiction in States where they are not covered by concurrent jurisdiction provisions.
  • Although not typically thought of as transfers, large numbers of youth younger than 18 are tried in criminal court in the 13 states where the upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction is set at 15 or 16. More than 3 million 16- and 17- year olds live in these 13 states. If these youth are referred to criminal court at the same rate that 16- and 17- year-olds elsewhere are referred to juvenile court, then a large number of youth younger than 18 face trial in criminal court because they are defined as adults under state laws.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/structure_process/qa04112.asp?qaDate=2009. Released on April 22, 2011.

Material originally compiled by P. Griffin for the National Center for Juvenile Justice's State Juvenile Justice Profiles website.

 

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