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Juveniled Justice System Structure & Process
Juveniles Tried as Adults
Q: How do juvenile court blended sentencing provisions vary by state?
A: As with transfer laws, state's juvenile court blended sentencing provisions are limited by age and offense criteria.

Juvenile court blended sentencing offense and minimum age criteria, 2015

State Minimum
age
Any
criminal
offense
Certain
felonies
Capital
crimes
Murder Certain
person
offenses
Certain
property
offenses
Certain
drug
offenses
Certain
weapon
offenses
Alaska 16 16
Arkansas NS 13 NS NS 13 14
Colorado NS NS NS
Connecticut NS NS NS
Illinois 13 13
Kansas 12 12
Massachusetts 14 14 14 14
Michigan NS NS NS NS NS NS NS
Minnesota 14 14
Montana NS 12 NS NS NS NS NS
New Mexico 14 14 14 14 14
Ohio 10 10 10
Rhode Island NS NS
Texas NS NS NS NS NS NS

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.

  • Juvenile blended sentences mitigate what happens to young offenders in that the juvenile court judge retains jurisdiction while imposing sanctions typically under the purview of the (adult) criminal court. States provide for this kind of sentencing as an alternative to trying and sentencing a juvenile as an adult in criminal court.
  • Juvenile blended sentencing differs from an extended juvenile disposition when the juvenile court judge retains jurisdiction over the offender while an adult criminal sanction is imposed.
  • In most states with these provisions, the juvenile court judge may order a juvenile disposition and an (adult) criminal sentence that is suspended pending successful completion of the juvenile sanction. The judge must usually find that the juvenile is “not amenable” to juvenile rehabilitation or has violated terms of the juvenile sanction before a course of adult incarceration is imposed.
  • Some states require a "redetermination" hearing at the age the person can no longer reside in a juvenile correctional facility or the state’s age of majority (usually age 18 or 21) so the juvenile court judge can rule on whether the adult portion of the sentence is still required.
  • Before imposing a blended sentence, some states require a legal status determination with labels such as "extended jurisdiction juvenile" or "youthful offender" to refer to differential juvenile or adult status. These labels can be confusing when comparing states, because the same terms are used in juvenile or adult (criminal) court, depending on the state. These prosecutorial or offender categories generally afford minors differential sentencing, adult protections of criminal due process, and juvenile protections, such as criminal record expungement.
  • Juvenile blended sentence provisions do not include when juvenile or adult reclassification or release decisions are made by an executive agency without further judicial approval.
  • As of the end of the 2015 legislative session, 14 states had blended sentencing laws that enable juvenile courts to impose criminal sanctions on certain juvenile offenders.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/structure_process/qa04113.asp?qaDate=2015. Released on March 27, 2017.

 

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