Optional Juvenile Waiver Act Exposed

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The Optional Juvenile Waiver Act does not include adoption or approval information. ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this piece of legislation after the launch of ALECexposed.org in 2011, but it has done nothing to get it repealed in the states where it previously pushed for it to be made into law.

ALEC Bill Text

Section 1.

A. If a juvenile 14 years of age or older is accused of an act that if committed by an adult would be a felony, the juvenile division of the {Insert Appropriate State Court} judge of the county in which the offense is alleged to have been committed may waive jurisdiction under this Act upon motion of the prosecuting attorney. After waiver, the juvenile may be tried in the circuit or general criminal court having general jurisdiction of the offense.

B. Before conducting a hearing on the motion of the prosecuting attorney in (A), the court shall clearly notify the juvenile and the juvenile’s parents that a waiver to a court of general criminal jurisdiction has been requested, and if granted, the juvenile can be prosecuted for the alleged offense as though he or she were an adult.

C. Before the court waives jurisdiction, the court shall determine on the record that there is probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed that if committed by an adult would be a felony and that there is probable cause to believe that the juvenile committed the offense.

D. Upon a finding of a probable cause in (C) of this section, the court shall conduct a hearing to determine if the best interests of the public and the juvenile would be best served by granting a waiver of jurisdiction to the court of general criminal jurisdiction. In making its determination, the court shall weigh all of the following criteria, giving greatest weight to the seriousness of the alleged offense, and the juvenile’s prior record of delinquency.

1. The seriousness of the alleged offense in terms of community protection, including, but not limited to the existence of aggravating factors recognized by sentencing guidelines, the use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, and the impact on the victim.
2. The culpability of the juvenile, including but not limited to the level of the juvenile’s participation, and the existence of any aggravating or mitigating factors.
3.The juvenile’s prior record of delinquency, including but not limited to past detention, police record, and school record.
4.The adequacy of the punishment available in the juvenile justice system.

E. The court shall waive jurisdiction of the juvenile if the court finds that the juvenile has previously been subject to the jurisdiction of the circuit court or general criminal court under this section.

Section 2.

A. The court shall advise the juvenile of and his or her parents, guardians, or custodian of the right to representation. The court shall appoint legal counsel if legal counsel has not been retained or appointed to represent the juvenile.

B. Legal counsel shall have access to the records or reports provided and received by the judge as a basis for decision in the proceedings for a waiver of jurisdiction.

Section 3.

The court shall enter a written order either granting or denying the motion to waive jurisdiction, And the court shall state on the record or in written opinion the courts findings of fact and conclusions of law forming the basis for entering the order. If the juvenile is waived, a transcript of the court’s findings, or a copy of the written opinion shall be sent to the court of general criminal jurisdiction.

If the court waives jurisdiction, the juvenile shall be arraigned on information filed by the prosecutor in the court of general criminal jurisdiction. The probable cause finding of (Section 1.C) satisfies the requirements of and shall be considered the equivalent of a preliminary examination’.

Severability Clause

Repealer Clause

Effective Date