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Essay on Judicial Transfer, Statutory Exclusion and Prosecutorial Discretion

0 September 08 2014, 10:15 in Juvenile Justice System Essays

Essay on Judicial Transfer, Statutory Exclusion and Prosecutorial Discretion

From 1980s until the early period of 1990s, there was a sudden increase in the commission of violent juvenile crime. At that time, the juvenile arrest for murders increased from five to fourteen arrests for every 100,000 juveniles. Because of the sudden surge in the crime rate, there was a panic among the people. Everybody thought the rate of juvenile crime will continue. Public clamor was fierce for the government to get tough on juveniles.

As a result of the public clamor for greater accountability for juvenile offenders, in the 1990s various laws were passed designed to impose stricter punishment against juvenile offenders. Among these laws were judicial transfer laws, prosecutorial discretion and statutory exclusion.

Judicial transfer refers to the authority given to the judges to transfer the jurisdiction of juveniles to adult courts upon motion of the prosecution. Judicial transfers have long been a part of the juvenile justice system. However, since the 1990s, the laws granting judicial discretion to transfer juvenile to adult courts have been greatly expanded to include less serious offenses.

Currently, there are three kinds of judicial transfers. The first is the mandatory judicial transfer which is the mandatory transfer of cases of adult courts should certain conditions be met. The second is the discretionary juvenile transfer refers to a situation where a judge is given the discretion to determine whether a case should be transferred to adult courts. The third is the presumptive judicial transfer which presupposes that the case will be transferred to the adult courts unless the judge finds compelling reasons to avoid judicial transfer.

The prosecutorial discretion is another law that transfers jurisdiction of juveniles to adult courts. It refers to the authority given to the prosecutors to determine the jurisdiction which could best handle the situation of the juvenile offender. It allows a prosecutor to directly file a case against the juvenile offender in adult courts.

The statutory exclusion grants jurisdiction to adult courts for juvenile offenders depending on the offense committed. Under the statutory exclusion, the prosecutor or the judge has no authority to prevent the transfer to adult courts because the nature of the offense committed automatically allows that the case against a juvenile offender be filed in the adult courts.

In some states, there are laws that provide that a juvenile once tried as an adult in an adult court will forever be considered as an adult. Thus, when the juvenile who is tried in an adult court is released but is tried again for another offense he shall once again be prosecuted automatically as an adult regardless of the crime committed.


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