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Juveniled Justice System Structure & Process
Juveniles Tried as Adults
Q: How do concurrent jurisdiction (prosecutorial discretion) provisions vary by state?
A: Concurrent jurisdiction provisions vary considerably with respect to minimum age and offense criteria.

Concurrent jurisdiction offense and minimum age criteria, 2011

State Minimum age for concurrent jurisdiction
              Concurrent jurisdiction offense and minimum age criteria              
Any criminal offense Certain felonies Capital crimes Murder Certain person offenses Certain property offenses Certain drug offenses Certain weapon offenses

Arizona 14 14
Arkansas 14 16 14 14 14
California 14 14 14 14 14 14 14

Colorado 14 14 14 14 14
District of Columbia 16 16 16 16
Florida NS 16 16 NS 14 14 14 14

Georgia NS NS
Louisiana 15 15 15 15 15
Michigan 14 14 14 14 14 14

Montana 12 12 12 16 16 16
Nebraska NS 16 NS
Oklahoma 15 16 15 15 15 16 15

Vermont 16 16
Virginia 14 14 14
Wyoming 14 14 14 14 14

Note: Ages in the minimum age column may not apply to all offense restrictions, but represent the youngest possible age at which a juvenile may be judicially waived to criminal court. "NS" indicates that no minimum age is specified.

  • All States have provisions for trying certain juveniles as adults in criminal court. This is known as transfer to criminal court. There are three basic transfer mechanisms: judicial waiver, statutory exclusion, and concurrent jurisdiction.
  • As of the end of the 2011 legislative session, 14 states and the District of Columbia had concurrent jurisdiction provisions, which give both juvenile and criminal court original jurisdiction in certain cases. Under such provisions, prosecutors have discretion to file eligible cases in either court.
  • Often, concurrent jurisdiction is limited to cases involving violent or repeat crimes or offenses involving firearms or other weapons. (Juvenile and criminal courts often share jurisdiction over minor offenses such as traffic, watercraft, or local ordinance violations as well as serious offenses in States where they are not excluded from juvenile court jurisdiction by statute.)
  • State appellate courts have taken the view that prosecutor discretion is equivalent to the routine charging decisions made in criminal cases. Thus, prosecutorial transfer is considered an "executive function," which is not subject to judicial review and is not required to meet the due process standards established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Kent v. United States (383 U.S. 541, 86 S.Ct. 1045 (1966)).

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/structure_process/qa04111.asp?qaDate=2011. Released on December 17, 2012.

 

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