Summary: H.R.3 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (05/08/1997)


Title I: Reforming the Federal Juvenile

Justice System

Title II: Apprehending Armed Violent Youth

Title III: Accountability for Juvenile Offenders and Public

Protection Incentive Grants

Title IV: Special Priority for Certain Discretionary Grants

Title V: Grant Reduction

Juvenile Crime Control Act of 1997 - Title I: Reforming the Federal Juvenile Justice System - Amends provisions of the Federal criminal code regarding delinquency proceedings in district courts and transfer for criminal prosecution to require that a juvenile alleged to have committed an offense against the United States or an act of juvenile delinquency (offense or act) be surrendered to State authorities or be proceeded against in Federal court as a juvenile or tried as an adult.

Repeals the prohibition against proceeding against a juvenile in Federal court unless the Attorney General certifies that the State does not have available programs and services adequate for the needs of juveniles.

Authorizes a juvenile to be proceeded against as a juvenile in Federal court if: (1) the alleged offense or act is committed within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States and is one for which the maximum authorized term of imprisonment does not exceed six months; or (2) the Attorney General, after investigation, certifies to the appropriate U.S. district court that the juvenile court or other appropriate court of a State does not have, or declines to assume, jurisdiction over the juvenile regarding the alleged act and there is a substantial Federal interest in the case or the offense to warrant the exercise of Federal jurisdiction.

Requires, if a juvenile is proceeded against as a juvenile in Federal court, that court be open to the public, except that the court may exclude all or some members of the public other than a victim unless the victim is a witness in the determination of guilt or innocence, if required by the interests of justice or if other good cause is shown.

Requires that a juvenile be prosecuted as an adult if the juvenile: (1) has requested in writing upon advice of counsel to be prosecuted as an adult; or (2) is alleged to have committed an act after attaining age 14 (current law refers to a juvenile 15 years and older alleged to have committed the act after his 15th birthday) which if committed by an adult would be a serious violent felony or a specified drug offense. Makes this provision inapplicable if the Attorney General certifies to the appropriate U.S. district court that the interests of justice are best served by proceeding against the juvenile as a juvenile.

Allows a juvenile to be prosecuted as an adult if: (1) the juvenile is alleged to have committed an act after attaining age 13 which, if committed after attaining age 14 would require that the juvenile be prosecuted as an adult, upon approval of the Attorney General (but prohibits the Attorney General from delegating the authority to give the required approval to an officer or employee of the Department of Justice (DOJ) at a level lower than a Deputy Assistant Attorney General); and (2) the juvenile is alleged to have committed an act after attaining age 14 which would not constitute a serious violent felony or specified serious drug offense if committed by an adult, but which would be a serious felony, including explosives and specified drug offenses.

Makes certain determinations to approve or not to approve, or to institute or not to institute, prosecution of a juvenile as an adult, and a determination to file or not to file and the contents of certifications under this title, non-reviewable in any court. Permits the juvenile in such prosecutions to be prosecuted and convicted as an adult for any other offense which is properly joined under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and to be convicted of a lesser included offense.

Directs the Attorney General to report annually to the Congress on: (1) the number of juveniles adjudicated delinquent or tried as adults in Federal court; (2) their race, ethnicity, and gender; (3) the number of those juveniles who were abused or neglected by their families; and (4) the number and types of assault crimes committed against juveniles while incarcerated in connection with the adjudication or conviction.

(Sec. 102) Requires: (1) an arresting officer to promptly take reasonable steps to notify the parents, guardian, or custodian of a juvenile taken into custody (current law requires immediate notification of such parties and the Attorney General); and (2) the juvenile to be taken before a judicial officer without unreasonable delay (current law prohibits a juvenile from being detained for longer than a reasonable period before being brought before a magistrate).

(Sec. 104) Amends provisions regarding detention prior to disposition to: (1) require that a juvenile under age 16 being prosecuted as an adult, if detained prior to sentencing, be detained in a suitable juvenile facility located within, or within a reasonable distance of, the district in which the juvenile is being prosecuted, with exceptions; and (2) prohibit such a juvenile from being detained prior to sentencing in any facility in which the juvenile has regular contact with adult persons convicted of a crime or awaiting trial on criminal charges. (Current law does not specify the juvenile's age or detention prior to sentencing.) Requires that every juvenile detained prior to sentencing be provided with reasonable safety and security.

(Sec. 105) Requires that a juvenile proceeded against for allegedly committing an offense against the United States or an act of juvenile delinquency be brought to trial within 45 days from the date such detention began or the information be dismissed on motion of the alleged delinquent or at the court's direction, with exceptions.

(Sec. 106) Modifies requirements regarding dispositional hearings. Directs the court, if it finds such juvenile to be a juvenile delinquent, to hold a hearing concerning the appropriate disposition of the juvenile within 40 (currently, 20) court days, unless the court has ordered further study. Requires that a predisposition report be prepared by the probation officer who shall promptly provide a copy to the juvenile, the juvenile's counsel, and the attorney for the Government.

Specifies that victim impact information shall be included in the report and victims, or (as appropriate) their official representatives, shall be provided the opportunity to make a statement to the court in person or present any information in relation to the disposition. Directs the court, after the dispositional hearing, to impose an appropriate sanction, including the ordering of restitution. Authorizes the court to order the juvenile's parent, guardian, or custodian to be present at the dispositional hearing and the imposition of sanctions, and to issue orders directed to such person regarding conduct with respect to the juvenile.

Limits the term for which: (1) probation may be ordered for a juvenile found to be a juvenile delinquent to five years for a felony or a misdemeanor, and to one year for an infraction; (2) official detention may be ordered for such juvenile to the least of the maximum term of imprisonment that would be authorized if the juvenile had been tried and convicted as an adult, ten years, or the period until the juvenile becomes 26 years old; and (3) supervised release may be ordered for such juvenile to five years.

Directs the United States Sentencing Commission to develop a list of possible sanctions for juveniles adjudicated delinquent, which shall: (1) be comprehensive and encompass punishments of varying levels of severity; (2) include terms of confinement; and (3) provide punishments that escalate in severity with each additional or subsequent more serious delinquent conduct.

Requires the court, in the case of a defendant convicted for conduct that occurred before the juvenile attained age 16, to impose a sentence without regard to any statutory minimum sentence, if it finds at sentencing (after affording the Government an opportunity to make a recommendation) that the juvenile previously has not been adjudicated delinquent for or convicted of a serious violent felony or specified serious drug offenses.

(Sec. 107) Modifies provisions regarding juvenile records. Requires the court, throughout and upon completion of the juvenile delinquency proceeding, to keep a record relating to the arrest and adjudication of a juvenile alleged to have committed an offense or act that is: (1) equivalent to the record that would be kept of an adult arrest and conviction for such an offense; and (2) retained for a period equal to that for which adult conviction records are kept. Directs that such records be made available for official purposes, including communications with any victim or, in the case of a deceased victim, such victim's representative, or school officials, and to the public to the same extent as court records regarding the criminal prosecutions of adults are available.

Requires the Attorney General to establish guidelines for fingerprinting and photographing a juvenile who is the subject of any such proceeding. Directs that fingerprints and photographs of a juvenile who is prosecuted as an adult be made available in the manner applicable to adult offenders.

Requires the court, whenever a juvenile has been adjudicated delinquent for an act that, if committed by an adult, would be a felony or for a violation of specified firearms prohibitions, to transmit to the Federal Bureau of Investigation information concerning the adjudication, along with a notation that the matter was a juvenile adjudication.

Sets forth provisions regarding the reporting, retention, disclosure, or availability of records or information where such activities are authorized or required in the law of the State in which a Federal juvenile delinquency proceeding takes place.

Title II: Apprehending Armed Violent Youth - Directs the Attorney General to establish an armed violent youth apprehension program under which: (1) each U.S. attorney shall designate at least one assistant U.S. attorney to prosecute armed violent youth and establish an armed youth criminal apprehension task force; (2) at least bimonthly, the Attorney General shall require each U.S. attorney to report to DOJ the number of youths charged with, or convicted of, violating specified Federal firearms-related prohibitions in the district for which the U.S. attorney is appointed and the number of youths referred to a State for prosecution for similar offenses; and (3) at least biannually, the Attorney General shall submit to the Congress a compilation of such information and a report of all waivers granted. Sets forth waiver authority and sunset provisions.

Title III: Accountability for Juvenile Offenders and Public Protection Incentive Grants - Juvenile Accountability Block Grants Act of 1997 - Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (Safe Streets Act) to replace provisions regarding grants to develop alternative methods of punishment for young offenders with provisions authorizing the Attorney General to provide grants to promote greater accountability in the juvenile justice system, including grants to: (1) build, expand, renovate, or operate temporary or permanent juvenile correction or detention facilities; (2) hire additional juvenile judges, probation officers, court- appointed defenders, and prosecutors; (3) provide funding for technology, equipment, and training to assist prosecutors in identifying and expediting the prosecution of violent juvenile offenders; and (4) establish drug court programs for juveniles.

Sets forth State and local government eligibility requirements, including assurances that the State or local governmental unit have in effect, or have implemented, laws, policies, and programs that: (1) ensure that juveniles who, after attaining age 15, commit an act that would be a serious violent crime if committed by an adult are treated as adults for purposes of prosecution as a matter of law or that the prosecutor has authority to determine whether or not to prosecute such juveniles as adults; (2) impose sanctions on juvenile offenders for every delinquent or criminal act or violation of probation and ensure that such sanctions escalate in severity with each subsequent, more serious delinquent or criminal act or probation violation; and (3) establish or ensure that there is in place a system of records relating to any adjudication of a juvenile who has a prior delinquency adjudication and who is adjudicated delinquent for conduct that if committed by an adult would constitute a felony under Federal or State law, which is equivalent to the system maintained for adults who commit felonies under Federal or State law.

Requires that 75 percent of the funding received by a State be provided to units of local government. Limits the amount of funds received that a State or local government may use for administrative costs to ten percent. Defines "serious violent crime" to mean murder, aggravated sexual assault, and assault with a firearm.

Authorizes appropriations. Sets forth provisions regarding oversight accountability and administration.

Title IV: Special Priority for Certain Discretionary Grants - Amends the Safe Streets Act to require the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, in awarding discretionary drug control and system improvement (Byrne program) grants to public agencies to undertake law enforcement initiatives relating to gangs or to juveniles who are involved or at risk of involvement in gangs, to give special priority to a public agency that includes in its application a description of strategies for intergovernmental cooperation to disrupt the illegal sale or transfer of firearms to or between juveniles through tracing the sources of crime guns provided to juveniles.

Title V: Grant Reduction - Amends the Safe Streets Act to provide for a 20 percent reduction and redistribution of funds under the Byrne program for a State, unless the State: (1) submits to the Attorney General, within a year, a plan that describes a process to notify parents regarding the enrollment of a juvenile sex offender in an elementary or secondary school that their child attends; and (2) adheres to the requirements described in such plan in each subsequent year as determined by the Attorney General.