U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Sentencing of Youthful Misdemeanants Under the Youth Corrections Act: Eliminating Disparities Created by the Federal Magistrate Act of 1979

NCJ Number
Fordham Law Review Volume: 51 Issue: 6 Dated: (May 1983) Pages: 1254-1277
C B Andreycak
Date Published
24 pages
The Federal Magistrate Act of 1979 (FMA) authorizes magistrates to use the Youth Corrections Act (YCA) sentencing options in the same manner as district court judges, except that magistrates may not impose YCA sentences exceeding 1 year of confinement or probation (judges can impose a 6-year sentence); resulting sentencing disparities violate equal protection guarantees and frustrate the goals of YCA.
The YCA expanded the range of sentencing options for youthful offenders and requires rehabilitative treatment in special facilities removed from adult institutions. YCA calls for an indeterminate sentence that may not exceed 6 years regardless of the maximum term an adult could serve for the same offense. This sentencing disparity is compounded by the FMA's limiting of magistrate sentencing under the YCA to a maximum of 1 year. Under this circumstance, the defendant's right to equal protection may be violated, because the maximum length of a sentence can depend solely on whether the sentencer is a judge or magistrate. While these disparities may be eliminated in several ways, the only solution that furthers the goals of both the YCA and the FMA is amendment of the FMA to permit the equal exercise of YCA sentencing authority by both judges and magistrates. A total of 163 footnotes are provided.


No download available