Direct File of Children to Adult Court Is Decreasing; Better Data Needed to Assess Sanctions
Report 17-06, March 2017
- Most children in Florida who are charged with committing an offense have their cases handled by the juvenile court system. However, Florida also has statutory procedures to transfer children from the juvenile court system to the adult criminal court system if they were charged with committing certain offenses or were older at the time of the alleged offense. The most common type of transfer to adult court in Florida is direct file, whereby the state attorney files the case directly in adult criminal court.
- Multiple entities collect data on direct-filed children. Data shows the average age of children direct filed for the first time in Fiscal Year 2015-16 was 16.4 years of age and the most common alleged offense was burglary. While the number of direct-filed children in Florida varies by judicial circuit, it has been decreasing statewide.
- Limited information on the adult sanctions of direct-filed children shows that many receive adult probation. The Legislature could consider options to improve data quality on adult outcomes of direct-filed children.
juvenile direct file, juveniles in adult court, state attorney discretion, adult judicial sanctions for juveniles