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SMART Summary: Prosecution, Transfer, and Registration of Serious Juvenile Sex Offenders

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2015
31 pages
This is an overview of the full range of alternative approaches for prosecuting serious juvenile sex offenders in juvenile courts across the Nation.
Unless excluded from its jurisdiction by legislative waiver or age of adult criminal responsibility, all serious sex offenses committed by juveniles will begin in juvenile court. This report focuses only on the most serious sex offenses, which are generally those that involve forcible sexual penetration. These are considered registerable offenses under the Federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). States vary widely in their ages of criminal responsibility, the circumstances under which a juvenile will automatically be prosecuted in adult criminal court, and when the decision to try a juvenile in adult court is vested either in the prosecuting attorney or a judge. Consequently, this overview presents a broad portrait of the state of the law in the United States regarding these issues. This is followed by an examination of the relevant SORNA provisions regarding sex offender registration and notification for juvenile sex offenders adjudicated of serious sex offenses in juvenile court. This report concludes that sex offender registration and public notification for serious juvenile sex offenders is a significant collateral consequence of their offense and should be part of any larger scale discussion on how to process a State's sex offenders; however, it is but one component of the response to such crimes and must be viewed within the context of other juvenile justice issues such as the age of adult criminal responsibility and various types of waivers for the processing of serious juvenile sex offenders in adult court. Appended statutory references and discussions of the various types of waiver of juveniles to adult court, mandatory registration, and discretionary registration

Date Created: June 24, 2020