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Direct File Juveniles

SB 1080: Prosecuting Children as Adults - Powell

HB 969: Direct Filing of an Information - Chambliss

What does this mean?

A child may NOT be held in adult jail. A child AND his/her legal guardian MUST be informed of their right to evidentiary hearing due process and hearing must be held within 30 days to determine if it is necessary to prosecute the child as an adult utilizing the list in (3)(a).

Florida Senate - 2024                                    SB 1080
       By Senator Powell
       24-01252-24                                           20241080__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to prosecuting children as adults;
    3         amending s. 985.265, F.S.; prohibiting a jail or other
    4         facility intended or used for the detention of adults
    5         from holding a child who has been transferred to adult
    6         court for criminal prosecution before a specified
    7         hearing is held to determine if the child should be
    8         prosecuted as an adult, unless the child waives his or
    9         her right to such hearing; amending s. 985.556, F.S.;
   10         deleting provisions requiring a state attorney to
   11         request a court to transfer and certify a child for
   12         prosecution as an adult or to provide written reasons
   13         to the court for not making such request, or to
   14         proceed under a specified provision; amending s.
   15         985.557, F.S.; deleting references to the state
   16         attorney’s discretion to direct file a juvenile;
   17         revising discretionary direct file criteria; requiring
   18         a court to advise a child and his or her parent or
   19         legal guardian of the child’s right to a due process
   20         evidentiary hearing before a judge upon the filing by
   21         a state attorney of an information transferring the
   22         child to adult court; requiring that the child or the
   23         child’s parent or legal guardian be afforded such
   24         hearing; requiring the judge to conduct the hearing
   25         within a certain timeframe; requiring the judge to
   26         consider specified information and factors during such
   27         hearing; authorizing the judge to consider, and
   28         certain parties to the action to examine, certain
   29         reports; providing for continued jurisdiction of the
   30         adult court with regard to the child unless the court
   31         makes a specified finding by a preponderance of the
   32         evidence; requiring the adult court to render an order
   33         that includes certain findings of fact; authorizing
   34         immediate review of the order; providing that the
   35         order is reviewable on appeal under specified rules;
   36         amending ss. 985.15 and 985.565, F.S.; conforming
   37         provisions to changes made by the act; amending s.
   38         985.03, F.S.; conforming a cross-reference; providing
   39         an effective date.
   41  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   43         Section 1. Subsection (5) of section 985.265, Florida
   44  Statutes, is amended to read:
   45         985.265 Detention transfer and release; education; adult
   46  jails.—
   47         (5) The court shall order the delivery of a child to a jail
   48  or other facility intended or used for the detention of adults:
   49         (a) When the child has been transferred or indicted for
   50  criminal prosecution as an adult under part X, except that:
   51         1. The court may not order or allow a child alleged to have
   52  committed a misdemeanor who is being transferred for criminal
   53  prosecution pursuant to either s. 985.556 or s. 985.557 to be
   54  detained or held in a jail or other facility intended or used
   55  for the detention of adults; however, such child may be held
   56  temporarily in a detention facility; and
   57         2. A child who has been transferred for criminal
   58  prosecution as an adult pursuant to s. 985.557 may not be held
   59  in a jail or other facility intended or used for the detention
   60  of adults before a court finding, as a result of a hearing
   61  provided for under s. 985.557(3), that the child should be
   62  prosecuted as an adult, unless the child waives his or her right
   63  to such hearing; or
   64         (b) When a child taken into custody in this state is wanted
   65  by another jurisdiction for prosecution as an adult.
   67  The child shall be housed separately from adult inmates to
   68  prohibit a child from having regular contact with incarcerated
   69  adults, including trusties. “Regular contact” means sight and
   70  sound contact. Separation of children from adults shall permit
   71  no more than haphazard or accidental contact. The receiving jail
   72  or other facility shall contain a separate section for children
   73  and shall have an adequate staff to supervise and monitor the
   74  child’s activities at all times. Supervision and monitoring of
   75  children includes physical observation and documented checks by
   76  jail or receiving facility supervisory personnel at intervals
   77  not to exceed 10 minutes. This subsection does not prohibit
   78  placing two or more children in the same cell. Under no
   79  circumstances shall a child be placed in the same cell with an
   80  adult.
   81         Section 2. Subsections (2) and (3) of section 985.556,
   82  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   83         985.556 Waiver of juvenile court jurisdiction; hearing.—
   84         (2) INVOLUNTARY DISCRETIONARY WAIVER.—Except as provided in
   85  subsection (3), The state attorney may file a motion requesting
   86  the court to transfer the child for criminal prosecution if the
   87  child was 14 years of age or older at the time the alleged
   88  delinquent act or violation of law was committed.
   90         (a) If the child was 14 years of age or older, and if the
   91  child has been previously adjudicated delinquent for an act
   92  classified as a felony, which adjudication was for the
   93  commission of, attempt to commit, or conspiracy to commit
   94  murder, sexual battery, armed or strong-armed robbery,
   95  carjacking, home-invasion robbery, aggravated battery,
   96  aggravated assault, or burglary with an assault or battery, and
   97  the child is currently charged with a second or subsequent
   98  violent crime against a person; or
   99         (b) If the child was 14 years of age or older at the time
  100  of commission of a fourth or subsequent alleged felony offense
  101  and the child was previously adjudicated delinquent or had
  102  adjudication withheld for or was found to have committed, or to
  103  have attempted or conspired to commit, three offenses that are
  104  felony offenses if committed by an adult, and one or more of
  105  such felony offenses involved the use or possession of a firearm
  106  or violence against a person;
  108  the state attorney shall request the court to transfer and
  109  certify the child for prosecution as an adult or shall provide
  110  written reasons to the court for not making such request, or
  111  proceed under s. 985.557(1). Upon the state attorney’s request,
  112  the court shall either enter an order transferring the case and
  113  certifying the case for trial as if the child were an adult or
  114  provide written reasons for not issuing such an order.
  115         Section 3. Section 985.557, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  116  read:
  117         985.557 Prosecuting children as adults Direct filing of an
  118  information; discretionary criteria.—
  120  FILE.—
  121         (a) With respect to any child who was 14 or 15 years of age
  122  at the time the alleged offense was committed, the state
  123  attorney may file an information when in the state attorney’s
  124  judgment and discretion the public interest requires that adult
  125  sanctions be considered or imposed and when the offense charged
  126  is for the commission of, attempt to commit, or conspiracy to
  127  commit:
  128         1. Arson;
  129         2. Sexual battery;
  130         3. Robbery;
  131         4. Kidnapping;
  132         5. Aggravated child abuse;
  133         6. Aggravated assault;
  134         7. Aggravated stalking;
  135         8. Murder;
  136         9. Manslaughter;
  137         10. Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a
  138  destructive device or bomb;
  139         11. Armed burglary in violation of s. 810.02(2)(b) or
  140  specified burglary of a dwelling or structure in violation of s.
  141  810.02(2)(c), or burglary with an assault or battery in
  142  violation of s. 810.02(2)(a);
  143         12. Aggravated battery;
  144         13. Any lewd or lascivious offense committed upon or in the
  145  presence of a person less than 16 years of age;
  146         14. Carrying, displaying, using, threatening, or attempting
  147  to use a weapon or firearm during the commission of a felony;
  148         15. Grand theft in violation of s. 812.014(2)(a);
  149         16. Possessing or discharging any weapon or firearm on
  150  school property in violation of s. 790.115;
  151         17. Home invasion robbery;
  152         18. Carjacking; or
  153         19. Grand theft of a motor vehicle in violation of s.
  154  812.014(2)(c)6. or grand theft of a motor vehicle valued at
  155  $20,000 or more in violation of s. 812.014(2)(b) if the child
  156  has a previous adjudication for grand theft of a motor vehicle
  157  in violation of s. 812.014(2)(c)6. or s. 812.014(2)(b).
  158         (b) With respect to any child who was 16 or 17 years of age
  159  at the time the alleged forcible felony as defined in s. 776.08
  160  offense was committed, the state attorney may file an
  161  information when in the state attorney’s judgment and discretion
  162  the public interest requires that adult sanctions be considered
  163  or imposed. However, the state attorney may not file an
  164  information on a child charged with a misdemeanor, unless the
  165  child has had at least two previous adjudications or
  166  adjudications withheld for delinquent acts, one of which
  167  involved an offense classified as a forcible felony as defined
  168  in s. 776.08 under state law.
  169         (2) NOTIFICATION TO PARENT OR GUARDIAN.—Upon the filing by
  170  the state attorney of an information transferring a child to
  171  adult court, the court must advise the child and his or her
  172  parent or legal guardian that the child has the right to a due
  173  process evidentiary hearing before a judge.
  174         (3) DUE PROCESS EVIDENTIARY HEARING.—Notwithstanding any
  175  other law, and in all cases, a child charged with a crime or his
  176  or her parent or legal guardian must be afforded a due process
  177  evidentiary hearing before a judge after the state attorney
  178  files an information in adult court under this section.
  179         (a) The judge shall conduct the hearing within 30 days
  180  after the request, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal
  181  holidays, unless the child or the child’s attorney shows good
  182  cause for a delay. The purpose of the hearing is for the court
  183  to determine whether it is necessary for the community’s
  184  protection that the child be prosecuted in adult court. The
  185  judge shall consider all of the following:
  186         1. Evaluations and assessments completed by the department.
  187         2. The sophistication and maturity of the child, including:
  188         a. The effect, if any, of immaturity, impetuosity, or
  189  failure to appreciate risks and consequences on the child’s
  190  participation in the alleged offense.
  191         b. The child’s age, maturity, intellectual capacity, and
  192  mental and emotional health at the time of the alleged offense.
  193         c. The effect, if any, of characteristics attributable to
  194  the child’s youth on his or her judgment.
  195         3. The record and previous history of the child, including:
  196         a. Previous contacts with the department, the Department of
  197  Corrections, the Department of Children and Families, other law
  198  enforcement agencies, and the courts.
  199         b. Prior periods of probation.
  200         c. Prior adjudications that the child committed a
  201  delinquent act or violation of law, with greater weight being
  202  given if a court previously found that the child committed a
  203  delinquent act or violation of law involving violence to
  204  persons.
  205         d. Prior commitments to institutions of the department, the
  206  Department of Corrections, or agencies under contract with
  207  either department.
  208         e. Any history of trauma, abuse or neglect, foster care
  209  placements, failed adoption, fetal alcohol syndrome, exposure to
  210  controlled substances at birth, or below-average intellectual
  211  functioning.
  212         f. Identification of the child as a student requiring
  213  exceptional student education or having previously received
  214  psychological services.
  215         4. The nature of the alleged offense and the child’s
  216  participation in it, including:
  217         a. Whether the alleged offense is punishable by death or
  218  life imprisonment.
  219         b. Whether the alleged offense was against persons or
  220  property.
  221         c. Whether the alleged offense is alleged to have been
  222  committed in an aggressive, violent, or premeditated manner.
  223         d. The extent of the child’s participation in the alleged
  224  offense.
  225         e. The effect, if any, of familial pressure or peer
  226  pressure on the child’s actions.
  227         5. The prospects for adequate protection of the public and
  228  the likelihood of reasonable rehabilitation of the child, if the
  229  child is found to have committed the alleged offense:
  230         a. By the use of procedures, services, and facilities
  231  currently available to the juvenile court.
  232         b. By the use of procedures, services, and facilities
  233  currently available to the adult court, including whether the
  234  lowest permissible sentence under the Criminal Punishment Code
  235  is a nonstate prison sanction.
  236         6. Whether the child could obtain habilitative or
  237  rehabilitative services available in the juvenile justice
  238  system.
  239         7. Whether the child could receive a sentence in juvenile
  240  court which would provide adequate safety and protection for the
  241  community.
  242         8. Whether the child’s best interests would be served by
  243  prosecuting the child in juvenile court.
  244         (b) The judge may consider any reports that may assist the
  245  court, including prior predisposition reports, psychosocial
  246  assessments, individual educational plans, developmental
  247  assessments, school records, abuse or neglect reports, home
  248  studies, protective investigations, and psychological and
  249  psychiatric evaluations. The child, the child’s parent or legal
  250  guardian, his or her defense counsel, and the state attorney may
  251  examine these reports and, at the hearing, question the parties
  252  responsible for creating them.
  253         (c) The adult court shall retain jurisdiction unless the
  254  court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the factors
  255  listed in paragraph (a) support returning the child to juvenile
  256  court.
  257         (d) The adult court shall render an order that includes
  258  specific findings of fact and the reasons for its decision. The
  259  prosecution or defense may seek immediate review of the order
  260  through interlocutory appeal. The order is reviewable on appeal
  261  under the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure.
  263  FILE.—
  264         (a) Once a child has been transferred for criminal
  265  prosecution pursuant to an information and has been found to
  266  have committed the presenting offense or a lesser included
  267  offense, the child shall be handled thereafter in every respect
  268  as if an adult for any subsequent violation of state law, unless
  269  the court imposes juvenile sanctions under s. 985.565.
  270         (b) When a child is transferred for criminal prosecution as
  271  an adult, the court shall immediately transfer and certify to
  272  the adult circuit court all felony cases pertaining to the
  273  child, for prosecution of the child as an adult, which have not
  274  yet resulted in a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or in which
  275  a finding of guilt has not been made. If a child is acquitted of
  276  all charged offenses or lesser included offenses contained in
  277  the original case transferred to adult court, all felony cases
  278  that were transferred to adult court as a result of this
  279  paragraph shall be subject to the same penalties to which such
  280  cases would have been subject before being transferred to adult
  281  court.
  282         (c) When a child has been transferred for criminal
  283  prosecution as an adult and has been found to have committed a
  284  violation of state law, the disposition of the case may be made
  285  under s. 985.565 and may include the enforcement of any
  286  restitution ordered in any juvenile proceeding.
  287         (5)(3) CHARGES INCLUDED IN INFORMATION.—An information
  288  filed pursuant to this section may include all charges that are
  289  based on the same act, criminal episode, or transaction as the
  290  primary offenses.
  291         Section 4. Subsection (1) of section 985.15, Florida
  292  Statutes, is amended to read:
  293         985.15 Filing decisions.—
  294         (1) The state attorney may in all cases take action
  295  independent of the action or lack of action of the juvenile
  296  probation officer and shall determine the action that is in the
  297  best interest of the public and the child. If the child meets
  298  the criteria requiring prosecution as an adult under s. 985.556,
  299  the state attorney shall request the court to transfer and
  300  certify the child for prosecution as an adult or shall provide
  301  written reasons to the court for not making such a request. In
  302  all other cases, The state attorney may:
  303         (a) File a petition for dependency;
  304         (b) File a petition under chapter 984;
  305         (c) File a petition for delinquency;
  306         (d) File a petition for delinquency with a motion to
  307  transfer and certify the child for prosecution as an adult;
  308         (e) File an information under s. 985.557;
  309         (f) Refer the case to a grand jury;
  310         (g) Refer the child to a diversionary, pretrial
  311  intervention, arbitration, or mediation program, or to some
  312  other treatment or care program if such program commitment is
  313  voluntarily accepted by the child or the child’s parents or
  314  legal guardian; or
  315         (h) Decline to file.
  316         Section 5. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (4) of
  317  section 985.565, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  318         985.565 Sentencing powers; procedures; alternatives for
  319  juveniles prosecuted as adults.—
  321         (a) Adult sanctions.—
  322         1. Cases prosecuted on indictment.—If the child is found to
  323  have committed the offense punishable by death or life
  324  imprisonment, the child shall be sentenced as an adult. If the
  325  juvenile is not found to have committed the indictable offense
  326  but is found to have committed a lesser included offense or any
  327  other offense for which he or she was indicted as a part of the
  328  criminal episode, the court may sentence as follows:
  329         a. As an adult;
  330         b. Under chapter 958; or
  331         c. As a juvenile under this section.
  332         2. Other cases.—If a child who has been transferred for
  333  criminal prosecution pursuant to information or waiver of
  334  juvenile court jurisdiction is found to have committed a
  335  violation of state law or a lesser included offense for which he
  336  or she was charged as a part of the criminal episode, the court
  337  may sentence as follows:
  338         a. As an adult;
  339         b. Under chapter 958; or
  340         c. As a juvenile under this section.
  341         3. Notwithstanding any other provision to the contrary, if
  342  the state attorney is required to file a motion to transfer and
  343  certify the juvenile for prosecution as an adult under s.
  344  985.556(3) and that motion is granted, the court must impose
  345  adult sanctions.
  346         4. Any sentence imposing adult sanctions is presumed
  347  appropriate, and the court is not required to set forth specific
  348  findings or enumerate the criteria in this subsection as any
  349  basis for its decision to impose adult sanctions.
  350         4.5. When a child has been transferred for criminal
  351  prosecution as an adult and has been found to have committed a
  352  violation of state law, the disposition of the case may include
  353  the enforcement of any restitution ordered in any juvenile
  354  proceeding.
  355         (b) Juvenile sanctions.—For juveniles transferred to adult
  356  court but who do not qualify for such transfer under s.
  357  985.556(3), the court may impose juvenile sanctions under this
  358  paragraph. If juvenile sentences are imposed, the court shall,
  359  under this paragraph, adjudge the child to have committed a
  360  delinquent act. Adjudication of delinquency may not be deemed a
  361  conviction, nor shall it operate to impose any of the civil
  362  disabilities ordinarily resulting from a conviction. The court
  363  shall impose an adult sanction or a juvenile sanction and may
  364  not sentence the child to a combination of adult and juvenile
  365  punishments. An adult sanction or a juvenile sanction may
  366  include enforcement of an order of restitution or probation
  367  previously ordered in any juvenile proceeding. However, if the
  368  court imposes a juvenile sanction and the department determines
  369  that the sanction is unsuitable for the child, the department
  370  shall return custody of the child to the sentencing court for
  371  further proceedings, including the imposition of adult
  372  sanctions. Upon adjudicating a child delinquent under subsection
  373  (1), the court may:
  374         1. Place the child in a probation program under the
  375  supervision of the department for an indeterminate period of
  376  time until the child reaches the age of 19 years or sooner if
  377  discharged by order of the court.
  378         2. Commit the child to the department for treatment in an
  379  appropriate program for children for an indeterminate period of
  380  time until the child is 21 or sooner if discharged by the
  381  department. The department shall notify the court of its intent
  382  to discharge no later than 14 days before discharge. Failure of
  383  the court to timely respond to the department’s notice shall be
  384  considered approval for discharge.
  385         3. Order disposition under ss. 985.435, 985.437, 985.439,
  386  985.441, 985.45, and 985.455 as an alternative to youthful
  387  offender or adult sentencing if the court determines not to
  388  impose youthful offender or adult sanctions.
  390  It is the intent of the Legislature that the criteria and
  391  guidelines in this subsection are mandatory and that a
  392  determination of disposition under this subsection is subject to
  393  the right of the child to appellate review under s. 985.534.
  394         Section 6. Subsection (54) of section 985.03, Florida
  395  Statutes, is amended to read:
  396         985.03 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
  397         (54) “Waiver hearing” means a hearing provided for under s.
  398  985.556(3) s. 985.556(4).
  399         Section 7. This act shall take effect July 1, 2024.

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