Juveniles in the Criminal Justice System Essay example

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Should Juvenile Offenders Be Tried As Adults? A Developmental Perspective on Changing Legal Policies

Laurence Steinberg

Temple University and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice

Paper presented as a part of a Congressional Research Briefing entitled “Juvenile Crime: Causes and Consequences,” Washington, January 19, 2000. Address correspondence to the author at the Department of Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122, or at lds@vm.temple.edu.

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I'd like to talk today about recent changes in juvenile justice policy that are being implemented despite a full consideration of what research on child development has to say about the wisdom
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The judge makes the ultimate decision, but the burden of proof is on the juvenile. 2. Direct File, sometimes called "Prosecutorial Discretion." In jurisdictions in which this exists, a prosecutor has the discretion to file charges in either juvenile or criminal court. As of 1997, 15 states had direct file statutes.

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3. Statutory Exclusion, sometimes called "Legislative Exclusion," "Mandatory Transfer," or "Automatic Transfer." Under statutory exclusion, certain categories of juveniles are automatically excluded from juvenile court. The categories are typically determined by some combination of age and offense (e.g., anyone accused of armed robbery who is 14 or older). As of 1997, 28 states provided for this. Some states permit what is called "reverse waiver," where a criminal court judge can waive a case to juvenile court based on various characteristics of the offender and the offense. As in cases of presumptive waiver within the juvenile court, the burden of proof in reverse waiver cases is on the offender. It is difficult to estimate the number of juveniles whose cases are transferred to criminal court, because states vary considerably in their record-keeping, especially as it concerns direct file or statutory exclusion, and because states vary in the upper age boundary for the juvenile

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