In the great majority of states all persons who have not reached their 16th birthday are within the original, exclusive jurisdiction of the juvenile courts. All those who have reached their eighteenth birthday are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the adult criminal courts. It is the remaining category-16 and 17 year olds-with which this paper is concerned. Most states have some provision for transferring 16-or 17 year old defendants between juvenile and adult courts. Usually the responsibility for the transfer rests with the juvenile court-a youth's case is considered first by a juvenile judge who decides whether to transfer it to the adult court. Transfer statutes typically require certain basic findings by the court, such as the nature of the offense and amenability of the accused to rehabilitation. Yet, while most codes now require an investigation prior to the decision as to transfer, few (with the model exception of Texas) indicate what specific criteria are to guide the judge in deciding whether to transfer the youth.
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