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Questionably Adult: Determinants and Effects of the Juvenile Waiver Decision

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 6 Issue: 1 Dated: (March 1989) Pages: 117-135
C W Barnes; R S Franz
Date Published
Data were collected on all youth considered for transfer to adult court over a six-year period in a single jurisdiction.
Demographic, legal, and organizational determinants of the waiver decision were treated as independent variables in a discriminant analysis of that decision. Analysis of covariance then was used to assess the effect of court of abjudication on severity of sentencing; the demographic, legal, and organizational variables were used as controls. Variables distinguishing fit from unfit youth were the seriousness of the offense, the number and nature of prior offenses, and prior treatment. Personal and aggravated personal offenders received more severe sentences in adult court than their counterparts in juvenile court, but property offenders were treated more leniently. Seriousness of offense played a significant role in adult court sentencing, but was overshadowed in juvenile court by the number and nature of prior offenses and by prior treatment.