In Virginia, there are three ways that a juvenile can be sent to the adult criminal justice system: discretionary waiver, certification (direct file), and mandatory waiver through transfer and certification, but they are no ways to be sent back to the juvenile criminal justice system if that would be more appropriate. Once a juvenile enters the adult criminal justice system, they are subject to more significant sentences and collateral consequences. This increased punishment is counterproductive because, as the Supreme Court recognized in Roper, Graham, and Miller, juveniles are less culpable for the crimes they commit and more likely to be rehabilitated when placed in a juvenile justice facility. Therefore, Virginia should reform their juvenile transfer laws in order to effectuate the purposes outlined in Roper, Graham, and Miller. This paper suggests that Virginia can do so by abolishing direct file and mandatory waiver outright, allowing for reverse waivers in all cases, and raising the appropriate age of transfer.
M. R. Scism,
Children are Different: The Need For Reform of Virginia's Juvenile Transfer Laws,
Rich. Pub. Int. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.richmond.edu/pilr/vol22/iss3/6