Prosecutor and Judge Use of Adult Defendants’ Juvenile Records

ILJ recently completed a study of how prosecutors and judges obtain and use information about criminal court defendants’ juvenile records. Phase I of this study for the National Institute of Justice will provide a national assessment of laws and practices in the criminal courts. This includes a review of the 50 states’ laws and surveys of practitioners in the 200 largest jurisdictions in the United States. The practitioners to be surveyed by telephone include prosecutors, chief probation officers, and heads of the central record repositories holding criminal history and juvenile court records. Phase II of the study entails intensive field work in two jurisdictions—Montgomery County, Maryland and Sedgwick County (Wichita), Kansas. In these two sites, all violent crime cases filed in the Superior Court are being reviewed to determine case outcomes, sentences, and how juvenile records were used by the judges per the states’ sentencing guidelines requirements.