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Delinquency Cases Waived to Criminal Court, 2005

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2009
4 pages
This study examined delinquency cases waived to criminal court in 2005.
Results show that in 2005, U.S. courts with juvenile jurisdiction handled 1.7 million delinquency cases. More than half of the cases were handled formally (a petition was filed requesting and adjudication or waiver hearing). Of the petitioned delinquency caseload, less than 1 percent resulted in judicial waiver. The number of delinquency cases judicially waived peaked in 1994 at 13,000 cases. This represented an 80 percent increase over the number of cases waived in 1985 (7,200). Since 1994, the number of cases judicially waived declined 47 percent (6,900 cases in 2005). The decrease in violent crime by juveniles has driven much of this decline. However, part of the decline in judicial waivers was due to the simultaneous and widespread expansion of non-judicial transfer laws; as a result of these new and expanded laws, many cases that might have been subject to waiver proceedings in previous years were undoubtedly filed directly in criminal court, bypassing the juvenile court altogether. Also discussed are mechanisms to handle juveniles in criminal court, and trends in the use of waivers. Data were collected using more than 2,100 courts with jurisdiction over 80 percent of the Nation's juvenile population (youth age 10 through the upper age of original juvenile court jurisdiction in each State).

Date Published: June 1, 2009