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Juveniled Justice System Structure & Process
Juveniles Tried as Adults
Q: Have states made it easier for juveniles to be tried as adults in criminal court?
A: Between 1992 and 1999, legislatures in nearly every state revised or rewrote their transfer laws to broaden the scope of transfer—lowering age/offense thresholds, moving away from individual and toward categorical handling, and shifting authority from judges to prosecutors.

States that changed their transfer laws, 1992-1999

Transfer law changed Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin
No Change Nebraska and Wyoming
  • Of the States making changes to transfer laws between 1992 and 1999, most enacted or made changes to their statutory exclusions.
  • 35 states created or expanded automatic transfer laws.
  • 27 states extended the reach of judicial waiver laws, lowering age requirements or otherwise broadening eligibility.
  • 13 states enacted new presumptive waiver laws.
  • 11 states strengthened prosecutor role in transfer, either expanding or enacting new prosecutorial discretion laws.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/structure_process/qa04107.asp?qaDate=1999. Released on October 31, 2009.

Adapted from Griffin, P. Different from Adults: An Updated Analysis of Juvenile Transfer and Blended Sentencing Laws, With Recommendations for Reform [Adobe Acrobat File] Pittsburgh, PA.: National Center for Juvenile Justice, 2008.


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