The Waiver of Young Offenders
Jurisdictional waiver usually includes a sort of sentencing decision. The transfer of juvenile and teenage offenders to adult prosecution has sparked heated and wide-ranging debates over this issue of young offenders and their waiver to adult court. For that matter, we find conflicting opinions both for and against the waiver of young offenders. Various mechanisms have been employed to prosecute juvenile offenders as adults since it creates a secure valve that sanctions the propitiatory sacrifice of some teenagers.
Over the years, given the public furor over increasing crime rates particularly that of teenage and kids’ involvement and fears of youth violence and the racial nature of violent young offenders have accentuated the need for “get tough” approach to handling it. The core impetus is that criminal justice system needs to find support to prosecute a big numbers of youth as adults.
Some of the steps taken in this regard abbreviate the transfer of young offenders to criminal courts by reinforcing judicial waiver and ruling out certain categories of offenses from juvenile court jurisdiction. It allows for prosecutors to charge youths as adults directly. The offense exclusion and "direct file" approaches discourages and impede rehabilitation and individualized thoughtfulness of the offender as they rather accentuate youth’s age and offences, punishment and justice system accountability.
Every jurisdiction puts into practice one or more statutory approaches so as to prosecute some juveniles as adults even if the technical and administrative details of state’s transfer laws are different from states to states. Judicial waiver, legislative offense exclusion and prosecutorial choice of forum project the three broad approaches. They chalk out different ways to determine whether which serious young offender will be tried as adults emphasizing a varied blend of sentencing policy values. These strategies are shifted to various branches of government as judicial, executive, or legislative the responsibility to decide whether the young offender will be tried as a youth or criminals.
Prosecutorial waiver or "direct file" paves the way for the third method through which about ten states exclude some young offenders from the juvenile justice system. Keeping in view this kind of strategy, juvenile and criminal courts contribute to the development of synchronized jurisdiction over certain ages and offenses, typically older youths and serious crimes. In this way, the prosecutor decides in which forum the case will be tried.
The formal process of research contains the following steps and Evaluation research:
· Defining the problem: The process of correctly identifying and defining the problem is the starting point of successful decision making. Perceiving problems clearly and promptly is not easy. Delays result from uncertainty about the nature of the problem and its causes. Perhaps vital facts are missing or are in conflict, requiring skilful interpretation. It is imperative to define a problem in terms that make action possible. This is the first step of doing any research
- Hypothesis: after defining the problem, researcher next developed a hypothesis. It is a statement that reaches beyond availability knowledge. A hypothesis is essentially an informed guess about the relationships between two or more variables, characteristics that vary from one individual, group, or time to another. The hypothesis gives direction to the information-gathering activities that lead to testing it
- Research Design: after defining the problem and formulating the hypothesis, the researcher decides what data to collect and how. There are several methods available for collecting data- experiment, survey, observation and use of secondary sources.
- Collection of Data: the actual gathering of evidence, whether in the form of administering questionnaire or running an experiment, may be done by the scientist, students, trained professionals, or members of the community. Information from persons close to the problem is particularly desirable, even though such information may contain biases. It is important to get as much significant data as economical and timely effort permit.
· Data Analysis: once the data are collected, the researcher faces the task of searching for patterns that support or cast doubt upon the hypothesis. Thus the testing of hypotheses may proceed until the causes of the problem are pinned down
· Forming a Conclusion: the last step of the research model, logically enough, is formation of conclusion, based on the data analysis and aimed at the hypothesis. If the researcher guessed wrong- if the hypothesis is not supported by the collected data- the problem can be redefined, or the hypothesis redefined, and the process can begin again. If the data support the hypothesis, it can be accepted
The aim of this study is to discuss the problem of waiver of young offenders and its consequences. This research study does not test a hypothesis nor it creates statistics; on the contrary it tries to discern views regarding the topic. This purpose can be achieved by asking specific questions to the employees of different companies. As the topic is broad which requires people’s view on this topic, the researcher will use the qualitative approach of analyzing the data (Bryman, 2008).
Journals, periodicals, newspaper articles, magazines and e-zines are all of the primary sources that were used in the preparation of this report. The study will use the qualitative methodology because the field of this study is very vast.
This study utilized inductive reasoning which requires that data collection and analytic processes be conducted in light with additional data. The analysis therefore occurs as an open step in conceptually interpreting the data set as a whole by using analytic strategies.
Apart from that the proposed study will also use a sample survey method where sample was drawn from randomly selected participants from the administration of criminal justice department and independent law practitioners. The Surveys consisted of a well-prepared questionnaire using either direct questions or questions with scale rating scheme regarding the subject of the research. Most of the questions are direct; however the questionnaire contains some rating questions also (Fowler, 1993). The questionnaire queries with the subjects and try to analyze and answer the questions of the research. It is the duty of the researcher to maintain the confidentiality of the respondents and thus, he must make sure that no one listen the answers. Questionnaires are either given personally to the participants or send to them by mail. Many of the questions that have been included in the questionnaire were asked to the different stakeholders in private and the responses that have been provided by them have been kept in strict confidentiality. The questionnaire that has been designed will shed light and will try to outline the most appropriate and suitable strategy to evaluate the global impact of oil spill on overall oil and gas market.
As according to the literature review it has been proved that the issue of young offender waiver poses a serious question on the entire criminal justice system. Furthermore it has also been verified that it is important to address the issue and make the lives of younger offenders less miserable.
I am conducting a small survey for preparing an assignment. If you are a medical proficient then you are eligible to participate in this survey.
It is a very short survey; take just 3 to 4 minutes of your time. It asks some direct and some rating questions to ascertain your attitude towards the trend of determining the relationship between sexual harassment and the subsequent repercussions. Furthermore the questionnaire will also encompass questions regarding health and safety measures that need to be devised in order to curb such cases and the damages that occur as a result of this. Your identity will not be disclosed and your participation is totally voluntary.
If you agree please fill the survey and return it back to me and do not write your name on it. If you do not agree, please do not write anything and give it me blank.
Thank you very much for your time and participation.
Standard procedures will be utilized in the administration of the questionnaire for all participants. Mailings were sent out to officials of selected departments explaining the study. A total of 400 personnel selected from justice system completed the questionnaire.
It, at the same time, serves to silence public and political furor over the serious offences done by the youth. (Richard, 2005) They largely hinge on the different organizational actors or administrative processes and deduce significant information useful in determining whether the teenager in case should tried and sentenced as an adult or a child.(Lawrence, 1993)
Judicial waiver involves the most general transfer strategy. A juvenile court judge can waive jurisdiction on an optional basis following a detailed hearing aimed to ascertain whether youth is amenable to treatment or still can endanger the lives and property of the public. These assessments mirror the customary individualized sentencing discretion characteristic of juvenile courts.(Hees, 2009)
Legislative offense exclusion continually adds to the judicial waiver provisions. This kind of approach lays stress on the severity of the offense and holds mirror to the retributive standards of the criminal law. Since legislatures form juvenile courts therefore they can define their jurisdiction in order to exclude youths from juvenile court based on their age and offenses. A couple of states, for instance, exclude youths sixteen or older and charge with first-degree murder from juvenile court jurisdiction. Legislative line-drawing that sets the maximum age of juvenile court jurisdiction at fifteen or sixteen years of age, below the general eighteen-year-old age of majority, results in the criminal prosecution of the largest numbers of chronological juveniles.(Cordell, 2007)
The presence of racial disparities in the juvenile justice systems is a cause for concern. The court decisions are racially influenced, if not all, but most of them are. However, this is not to say every judge sees the case through the spectacle of race, prejudice and biases. A number of surveys support that claim. The juvenile system is racially biased which should be changed. As Cordell puts it, “one way (to ameliorate the system) is to increase the number of judges on the bench who look like the people who come before them.”(Cordell, 2007)
Each type of waiver strategy has found both advocates and critics across the country. The proponents and supporters of judicial waiver endorse juvenile courts' rehabilitative philosophy assuming that the individualized decisions give an appropriate blend of flexibility and severity.
The critics on the other hand, assert that judges lack valid and clinical tools through which they can properly and accurately measure the amenability to treatment and prognosticate future threats on the part of the offender. Therefore such an exercise based on weak and questionable discretion will most likely heighten abuses and inequalities.
However, the proponents of offense exclusion support just deserts sentencing policies endorsing the sanctions which are based on relatively objective factors such as offense severity and criminal history, and value consistency, uniformity, and equality in the handling of similarly situated offenders. The objection of critics raises questions whether legislators are able to exclude discretion without letting the entire process become rigid and over-inclusive.
The debate whether juvenile criminal justice system is fair or not is indeed an intriguing one. The answer to this question cannot be made without taking racial discrimination into account. Having read the stories, it is clear that the existing juvenile system has not treated the non-white juvenile kids fairly. It can be argued that they have not been treated fairly on the basis of their skin color. In most of the cases as in this case, African-American and Hispanic youth are tried as adults instead which gets them harsher punishments.
Manny, 17, accused of hitting the pregnant woman is not treated justly. Indeed, he is not the one who has hit the pregnant woman. His case is shifted to the adult court where he pleads guilty to seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He, now, has two felony convictions and gets nine years imprisonment at state prison. On the other hand, Shawn accused of attacking his father while he was asleep. Logically, he is to be tried on charges of attempted murder and the court’s verdict should not be less harsh than Manny. Surprisingly enough, the court’s final verdict took everyone by surprise. Contrary to what was being expected, Judge Edwards ruled that Shawn’s case would not be referred to adult courts unlike Manny and he will stay in Santa Clara County’s Juvenile Hall until he ages 19 with all the facilities to attend community college classes and private counseling sessions etc.
On comparison, the court’s attitude towards these two juvenile offenders was biased. It is indeed gross injustice. The decision in Shawn’s case further corroborated the perception that juvenile justice system was treating juvenile offenders on the basis of their ethnicity, color and social position. Shawn came off an affluent family therefore he was not handed down harsh punishment. Manny was discriminated against in the case on the basis of his race otherwise the court would have meted out the same treatment to Shawn. Manny is convicted as a delinquent while Manny guilty.
The judicial waiver refers to the transfer of juvenile cases to criminal courts if the case meets certain criteria. The judicial waiver should take place in case of grave and serious crime keeping in mind whether or not juvenile can be rehabilitated during his stay. If he is deemed unlikely to rehabilitate himself during the given period of time, he may be shifted to criminal court of justice but again it depends on the seriousness of his crime. The entire process of judicial waiver should be impartial to an extent that the decision should not elicit questions on its credibility just as it did in the case of Manny and Shawn.
Until 1980s, a juvenile could not be adjudicated in juvenile court and then tried for the same offense in an adult criminal court. But now the state court systems for juvenile sentencing can take precedence over federal courts except for the cases related to violence and drug activity.
The stereotyping is one major cause of biased court decisions. Nevertheless, the system can be made transparent and court proceedings impartial once the judges of same communities are appointed. For example, a non-white is always less likely to be prejudiced against Negroes mainly due to stereotyping which is so entrenched in the minds of people. Eventually, such stereotyping results in the biased decisions.(Hess, 2009)
Recommendation and Conclusion
The system of justice is almost entirely different for Juvenile as compared to the adults. Juvenile intake started from the first information which law enforcement agency receives for a juvenile to commit crime. During investigation the law enforcement officer has to assess whether the evidence is sufficient for proving the juvenile guilty of the crime or not. If the officer finds the evidence enough to find the juvenile guilty of the crime, he will call the juvenile probation officer and send him the information of the crime and then also send this information to district attorney for filing the petition. In the process of filing a petition, juvenile may either be released after giving some counseling, or handed over to the community resources or referred for juvenile intake.
Once the decision of juvenile intake is made, juvenile enters into the juvenile justice system. First either the prosecutor or the court will decide whether to file the case in juvenile court or in the adult court. Before starting the formal hearing of the case, the court will try to find other solutions like whether the crime committed by the Juvenile is serious or not, or the evidence of the crime, juvenile’s previous criminal record and whether rehabilitation measures are successful in the case or not. Depending on these factors the court will decide whether to dismiss the case, handle the case informally or order the proper hearing of the case. According to the statistics more than 25% of the young offenders are dismissed due to non-severity of the crime or they are first time offenders.
Juvenile justice system is different from adult criminal system is that in juvenile justice system court also provides the option of rehabilitation. Usually, in juvenile courts the prime objective is not punishment but rehabilitation; thus, the process is rather short.
In Knoxville, Tennessee, an 11 year old boy, Kenny was taken into custody by police on the charge of the theft of a bike from a neighbor’s child. In this probation officer may decide that the charge is not serious enough to file a petition against Kenny because the kid has no previous record and he was involved in the theft because his parents did not afford a new bike.
Thus, instead of filing a petition against the kid, the probation officer may refer the kid for some rehabilitation measures which would make Kenny realize that he committed a crime which is legally and morally prohibited.
Teen killers seem to enjoy undue protection in our criminal justice system. The process of criminal justice system is too complex and tedious enough to announce a conviction for any crime in the country. The life sentence is a rarity in the United States regardless of the age of the offender. Life sentences and long sentences for severe crimes even by younger offenders are rare, legal, constitutional, supported by international law and practice, and reserved for the most serious cases.
It goes without saying that all human institutions and the criminal justice system in particular is flawed hence it is difficult supporting argument for the over-sentencing offenders or conviction of the innocent. Part of the problems lies with the criminal justice system itself. We can tout our criminal justice as the best and biased one but the reality paints a different picture.
In the debate over judicial waiver and transparency of justice system, victim’s families often kept out with the pretext that they will object to all reforms hence should not be given a chance in this discussion and that they are too emotional and at too adversarial to come up with sane suggestions.
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Richard, Hanes (2005) “Crime and Punishment in America. Volume 1. Thomas Gale. Farmington Hills, MI
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Lawrence, Friedman(1993) “Crime and Punishment in American History”. Basic Books. New York, NY.