Give Your Assessment of the philosophy behind your state’s approach to Judicial Waiver “To provide a program of supervision, care and rehabilitation to juvenile youths” Alabama • Since the 1970’s most state legislatures saw an increase in juvenile crime • Then in the 1990’s there was a sharp decrease in overall crime rates by juveniles • This also includes Alabama where the rate of juvenile crime has decreased over the past five years However… • Even though Alabama saw a decrease in juvenile crime there was an increase in the violent crimes by these juveniles • From 1977, 9% of juvenile crimes were for violent offenses. In 2003, this rate rose to 15%. • This is the same as the national average of juvenile arrest rates for violent crimes at 15%. Statistics • Alabama total population is 4,447,100 people, with roughly 1.1 million of whom are juveniles • U.S. is roughly 303,824,680 people , 70 million of whom are juveniles under the age of 18 • Population wise roughly 25% of their population’s are juveniles and 15% of the juveniles arrested are arrested for violent offenses Why transfer juveniles? • Legislature wants to punish criminals who commit violent offenses harshly in the criminal court. • With the rates of violent offenses increases amongst juveniles it shows that waiving them to the criminal court isn’t fixing the problem of deterring violent offenses. Is waiving juveniles working? • Waiving juveniles to criminal court over the past 30 years could be directly impacted to the decrease in overall crime rates, however, waiving juveniles to criminal court is could also lead to increases in violent offenses by these juveniles. Alabama’s Waiver Process • 2 main types utilized: – Judicial/Discretionary Waiver – Statutory Exclusion “Once an Adult, Always an Adult” Judicial Waiver • The juvenile judge has the authority to waive the juvenile court jurisdiction and transfer a case to the criminal court – Requested by the Prosecuting attorney and granted by the court following a hearing – Minimum age of 14 years old – Criminal offenses What occurs in the transfer hearing? • Factors specified by the statute considered including probation records • Transfer will be made if: • It is the best interest of the child and the general public to continue through criminal proceedings • If probable cause is provided implicating the child in the alleged crime • There is no legal grounds to support mental instability or prove the individual is committable to an institution Statutory Exclusion • Alabama laws exclude individuals fitting specified criteria from being defined as a “child” for purposes of juvenile jurisdiction • Juvenile charged with such offenses are treated as an adult from the beginning of the judicial process • Minimum age of 16 Statutory Exclusion-Specified Offenses • Class A felonies or those requiring any of the following elements: – The use of a deadly weapon – Causing of death or serious injury – The use of dangerous weapons/instruments against any number of public officials or employees, police officers, correctional officers, judges, prosecutors, probation officers, jurors, witnesses, teachers, or Alabama public school employees Cont… • Capital Offenses: First Degree murder or murder with certain circumstances such as multiple, intentional, gun involvement, repeated offense, or rape • Drug related offences: drug trafficking “Once an Adult, Always an Adult” • When a transfer occurs to adult court by a criminal conviction or adjudication of a youth offender, the juvenile court jurisdiction is permanently terminated. How Juveniles get involved in the system • -Every county in Alabama has a juvenile court • -a delinquent can be defined as a child under the age of eighteen who has committed an offense, which would otherwise be called a crime if they were an adult Continued.. • Any individual such as a law enforcement officer, parent, neighbor, or relative, who has knowledge of a juvenile who has committed a delinquent act, or is in need of supervision, may file a complaint with the juvenile court - After the complaint is filed, a juvenile intake officer, also known as a probation officer, reviews the complaint to verify its validity and decides whether a formal petition needs to be filed with the court - The child and parents are informed of their rights - The parents have the right to be made parties in all juvenile court action taken - If the juvenile is detained, the hearing must be held within seventy-two hours of detainment. - When the hearing is held, the judge must determine whether the juvenile can be released to the care of his parents, or whether he should be held in a detention center or shelter. Informal Adjustment - The intake officer may hold off with filing a formal petition, and with consent from the parent and child, hold formal counseling with the intake officer or other appropriate persons which in some cases may be the judge - the parents or guardians can consent to place the juvenile temporarily with someone other than the parents for up to six months. - The intake officer has the choice to terminate the informal adjustment and dismiss the juvenile without further proceedings, or terminate the informal adjustment process if the juvenile fails to attend scheduled counseling or receives information which shows evidence that this is not in best interest of the child. - The informal adjustment can also be terminated if the juvenile or parent wishes to no longer participate in the process. CHINS and Consent Decree - At any time after a petition is filed in the case of delinquency of a juvenile or child in need of supervision (CHINS), the juvenile court may suspend proceedings and may allow the child to be supervised under a consent decree. - The consent decree is an arrangement made between the juvenile, the parents and the judge, where the juvenile is placed on probation for six months under certain terms and agreements. If the terms and conditions are broken, the case will proceed. Hearings - In Alabama, all juvenile proceedings are closed to the public - Those present at the hearing include the judge, the juvenile, the juvenile’s defense attorney, the juvenile’s parents or guardians, the district attorney, the victims of the offense, and the juvenile’s probation officer. - Testimonies will be taken - The judge will decide at the end of the hearing if the facts in the petition are true and the child is delinquent or in need of supervision, or if the allegations are false which will result in a dismissal of the case. - If the juvenile is found to be a serious juvenile offender by committing a delinquent act which would have been classified as a Class A felony as an adult (felony resulting in serious physical injury, felony involving force, or a felony involving a deadly weapon) then the juvenile is required to spend a minimum of a year in the Department of Youth Services facility. - At the end of the year the Department will determine extension of the term commitment or release of the child. Post Hearing - If the Juvenile is found to be delinquent or in need of supervision, the court will hold a disposition hearing - The court may require the juvenile to complete community service, be placed on probation, or pay restitution and/or be referred to the Department of Youth Services - The court may require the juvenile to complete community service, be placed on probation, or pay restitution. The juvenile may be referred to the Department of Youth Services • Ashley Jones, and her 16 year old boyfriend,Geramie Hart Murdered her Grandfather and Aunt, and brutally harmed and tortured her Grandmother and 10 year old sister. • After Ashley and her boyfriend killed her family, they went to the Parkway Inn in Roebuck, where police arrested them. • Ashley was found guilty in a criminal court on two accounts of capital murder and two accounts of attempted murder. • Ashley is sentenced to life in prison without parole. Works Cited • National Center for Juvenile Justice. 2006. "Alabama." State Juvenile Justice Profiles. Pittsburgh, PA: NCJJ. Online. Available: http://www.ncjj.org/stateprofiles/. • JJustice.org - home. 13 Apr. 2009 <http://www.jjustice.org/pdf/Advances%20in%20Juvenile%20Justice%20Refor m%202007-2008.pdf>. • The National Center for State Courts - Home Page. 13 Apr. 2009 <http://www.ncsconline.org/wc/CourTopics/ResourceGuide.asp?topic=JuvJus>. • National Criminal Justice Reference Service. 13 Apr. 2009 <http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/180864.pdf>. • Prison Fellowship. 13 Apr. 2009 <http://www.pfm.org/media/justicefellowship/Docs/JJDPA%20Fact%20Book.p df>.
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