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Report of the Task Force on Juvenile Court Jurisdiction

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2013
63 pages

Maryland's legislatively mandated Task Force on Juvenile Court Jurisdiction reports on current State law on juvenile court jurisdiction; reviews current research on best practice for processing cases involving juveniles, and offers recommendations regarding court jurisdiction for juveniles who have committed serious crimes, i.e., whether they should be processed in adult or juvenile court.


The Task Force produced two recommendations. First, conduct an analysis of the capital, programmatic, and staffing needs so as to determine the impact of policy changes that would expand juvenile court jurisdiction. Second, the Task Force recommends that all youth aged 16 and 17 have the option to petition the court for transfer from the adult to the juvenile system, regardless of the offense charged. In Maryland, youth currently are processed in adult court under two mechanisms. The first mechanism is waiver of juvenile court jurisdiction. Youth ages 15 and older accused of any offense, or youth younger than 15 charged with an offense that is punishable by death or life imprisonment can be waived to the adult system by a judge, who makes specific findings on the record about the youth's mental and physical condition, the amenability of the child to treatment, and the nature of the offense and public safety. The second mechanism is automatic exclusion of the juvenile court from jurisdiction over specified cases. A youth is automatically charged in adult court if that youth is 14 or older and charged with a capital offense or if the youth is 16 or older and charged with one of a series of enumerated offenses. Nearly all of these youth can be "transferred" back to the juvenile system by the court following a hearing in which a criminal court judge examines factors similar to those considered in a waiver hearing. Appended literature review and comments regarding requested recommendations