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Juveniles Being Tried as Adults

Autor:   •  January 29, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  1,093 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,589 Views

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Juveniles Being Tried as Adults

This paper will address the debate of whether juveniles should be tried and sentenced as adults. Juvenile crimes have increased drastically over the years. These juvenile offenders’ ages range from 10 to 16 years old. These youthful offenders are committing violent and vicious crimes. The crimes being committed are murder, rape, carjacking, gang violence, drive by shootings and burglary. There are many juveniles that are being tried and sentenced as adults for these crimes. Once they are convicted they are being housed in adult correctional facilities. Some experts say that juveniles should never be tried or sentenced as adults. They argue that this will cause juveniles to become more violent and reoffend once released. Prosecutors disagree because they feel if the juveniles commit adult crimes they should serve adult time.

Many children in America are imperiled by abuse, neglect, domestic violence and poverty. These children, if not saved, will suffer and fall into depression and hopelessness. These children are the ones that will eventually engage in destructive and violent behavior. They tend to commit heinous crimes and are punishable by the judicial system. The question that is being debated is should these juveniles be tried and sentenced as adults? This is an ongoing dispute between child youth advocates and judicial prosecutors. The advocates feel as if juvenile offenders lack competency to stand trial as adults. “Society is so quick to jump on these children after something tragic happens, but where was society when these children were living in circumstances that very likely provoked this behavior?” The court system and federal government should develop a system for evaluating young defendants’ competence.


There are several ways that a juvenile accused of crimes can be tried in criminal courts. These include judicial waiver, legislative offense exclusion or statutory waiver and prosecutorial waiver or “direct file”. The judicial waiver is when a juvenile court judge uses his or her discretion and determines whether transfer to a criminal court is warranted based on a hearing. Legislative offense exclusion or statutory waiver is when the legislature can support transfer based on the seriousness of the offense and the youth’s age. Prosecutorial waiver or “direct file” is when concurrent jurisdiction grants the prosecutor discretion to choose whether a youth can be tried in a juvenile or criminal court, without having to justify the decision through a judicial hearing or a formal record. Approximately 200,000 adolescents under the age of eighteen are tried as adults each year in the United States, and roughly 12% of these transferred juveniles are under the age of sixteen.



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