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American Juvenile Justice$
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Franklin E. Zimring

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195181166

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181166.001.0001

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Juvenile or Criminal Court?

Juvenile or Criminal Court?

A Punitive Theory of Waiver

(p.139) Ten Juvenile or Criminal Court?
American Juvenile Justice

Franklin E. Zimring

Oxford University Press

The use of a juvenile court for youth crime is almost universal throughout the developed nations. However, every American jurisdiction has provided for exceptions—circumstances and procedures that transfer those within the age boundaries of juvenile court to criminal court instead. This chapter is organized as follows. The first section argues that the necessity of transfers must be understood in the context of the functions and limits of juvenile courts. The second section examines three different structural accommodations to the need for serious punishment for a few youths: wholesale transfer of jurisdiction to criminal courts; the expansion of punishment powers available within the juvenile court so that even the most terrible crimes can meet their just deserts in a juvenile court; and the selective transfer of cases. The third section contrasts three different mechanisms for transfer: legislative standards that define both the necessary and sufficient causes for transfer; a legal framework that delegates power to judges to decide whether a particular case requires transfer; and a system that delegates total power to prosecutors. The concluding section describes a few of the minimum conditions necessary to justice at the interface between juvenile and criminal court.

Keywords:   juvenile court, criminal court, American justice system, youth crime, jurisdiction, transfer

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