Trends Related to the Certification of Juveniles as Adults

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1 Trends Related to the Certification of Juveniles as Adults Prepared for the Texas House of Representatives Corrections Committee 82 nd Legislative Session Interim March 6, 2012

2 Overview Certification is the transfer of a juvenile s case from juvenile court to criminal court (the adult system) Certification does not determine guilt or punishment If certified, the case may be dismissed or the juvenile may be placed on probation or incarcerated Eligibility Requirements Under Family Code 54.02(a), for juveniles under age 18 at the time of the juvenile court certification proceedings: An adjudication hearing must not have occurred for the certification-eligible offense The juvenile must have been: At least age 14 or older at the time the alleged offense was committed for capital felonies, aggravated controlled substance felonies, or first degree felonies At least age 15 or older at the time the alleged offense was committed for second degree, third degree, or state jail felonies The juvenile court must conduct a full investigation and hearing and find: Probable cause that the juvenile committed the alleged offense Public safety requires certification given the seriousness of the alleged offense or the juvenile s background Legislative Budget Board March 6, 2012 Page 1

3 Overview Eligibility Requirements (continued) Under Family Code 54.02(j), for individuals age 18 or older at the time of juvenile court certification proceedings An adjudication hearing must not have occurred for the certification-eligible offense The individual must have been: At least age 10 and under age 17 at the time the alleged offense was committed for capital felonies or murder At least age 14 and under age 17 at the time the alleged offense was committed for aggravated controlled substance felonies and first degree felonies (except murder) At least age 15 and under age 17 at the time the alleged offense was committed for second degree, third degree, and state jail felonies The juvenile court finds: Probable cause that the individual committed the alleged offense It was not feasible to process the case in juvenile court before the individual s 18 th birthday Legislative Budget Board March 6, 2012 Page 2

4 Certification Trends, FY05 FY11 Certifications* have been stable over the last 7 years * The certification counts reflect the number of unduplicated juveniles certified within a fiscal year. Legislative Budget Board March 6, 2012 Page 3

5 Offense Types, FY05 FY11 Most juveniles are certified for violent offenses. 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Violent Property Drug Other Legislative Budget Board March 6, 2012 Page 4

6 40% Offense Types in Detail, FY11 Robbery, sexual assault, and homicide accounted for two-thirds of certification offenses in fiscal year % 29.4% 21.1% 20% 10% 0% 15.0% 11.7% 7.5% 7.2% 5.6% 1.1% Legislative Budget Board March 6, 2012 Page 5

7 Determinate and Indeterminate Sentence Offenses, FY09 FY11 Indeterminate sentence offenses account for a small but slightly rising share of certification offenses (88.7%) 193 (82.5%) 131 (72.8%) (11.3%) 41 (17.5%) 49 (27.2%) Determinate Sentence Offenses Indeterminate Sentence Offenses Determinate sentence offenses cover approximately 30 felony offenses, can entail a maximum sentence of between 10 and 40 years depending on the offense, and may result in the transfer of a juvenile into the adult criminal justice system following a term of probation or commitment to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department state residential facilities. Legislative Budget Board March 6, 2012 Page 6

8 Demographics, FY11 Nearly all certifications are 16 years of age or older, male, and Hispanic or African American. Age at Certification Gender Race/Ethnicity % Male 96.1% Hispanic 50.6% % Female 3.9% African American 31.7% % Total 100.0% Anglo 17.8% % Total 100.0% 18 and Up 16.1% Total 100.0% Legislative Budget Board March 6, 2012 Page 7

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