Minnesota Law Review
There are two principal mechanisms for transferring juvenile offenders to the adult criminal justice process. The most common mechanism is judicial waiver; the alternative is legislative waiver, i.e., the legislature redefines juvenile court jurisdiction to exclude from juvenile courts those youths charged with certain offenses. During 1980, the Minnesota Legislature actively reviewed the State's juvenile code and significantly modified several provisions focusing on the serious young offender, the certification process, and the interface between the juvenile and criminal courts in sentencing. Under the new legislation, the exclusively benevolent and rehabilitative purpose of the juvenile court remains only for children alleged or adjudicated neglected or dependent. In addition, the statute now mandates a probable cause hearing on the alleged offense to provide a basis for the certification motion. Other changes included altering the manner in which hearings are conducted in the juvenile courts, providing that juvenile courts may now levy fines of up to $500, and adopting determinate, presumptive sentencing guidelines. The changes in the code reflect a fundamental, philosophical shift in the treatment of juvenile offenders. It is concluded that while the legislature's adoption of specific, substantive offense criteria designed to guide juvenile court judges in the administration of the transfer statute may marginally change the number of youths referred to adult criminal courts, the reforms are not responsive to the fundamental conceptual and administrative difficulties posed by the transfer process. Furthermore, recent changes may make the certification process even more difficult to administer. It is suggested that maintenance of a separate juvenile justice system may not be justified. Three hundred-sixteen footnotes are provided.
Barry C. Feld, Juvenile Court Legislative Reform and the Serious Young Offender: Dismantling the "Rehabilitative Ideal", 65 Minn. L. Rev. 167 (1981), available at http://scholarship.law.umn.edu/faculty_articles/290.