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CRM 1-499

124. Disposition Hearing

If the court finds a juvenile to be a delinquent, a disposition hearing shall be held. 18 U.S.C.A. § 5037(a) (West Supp. 1995). It must be held within twenty days of the finding of delinquency unless a "further study" of the juvenile is ordered by the court. Id.

At the disposition hearing, and after considering any pertinent policy statements promulgated by the Sentencing Commission, the court may suspend the findings of juvenile delinquency, order restitution, place the juvenile on probation, or commit him to official detention. Id. Generally, any term of probation or custody will not extend past the juvenile's twenty-first birthday or the maximum term that would be authorized if the juvenile had been tried and convicted as an adult, whichever occurs first. 18 U.S.C.A. § 5037 (West Supp. 1995).

If a juvenile found to be delinquent is between eighteen and twenty-one and has committed a Class A, B, or C felony, the district court may order official detention for up to five years. 18 U.S.C.A. § 5037(c)(2) (West Supp. 1995). The court may impose detention for up to three years in the case of other crimes. Id. The maximum authorized term refers to the maximum length of sentence to which a similarly situated adult would be subjected if convicted of the adult counterpart of the offense and sentenced under the Guidelines. United States v. R.L.C., 503 U.S. 291, 307 n.7, 112 S. Ct. 1329, 1339, n.7, 117 L. Ed. 2d 559 (1992). A court has no authority under the Act to sentence an adjudicated juvenile delinquent to supervised release in addition to a term of official detention. United States v. Doe, 53 F. 3d 1081, 1083-84 (9th Cir. 1995).

Sentencing Guidelines do not directly apply to juvenile delinquency proceedings. R.L.C., 503 U.S. at 307 n.7. However, the sentencing and reviewing courts will have to determine an appropriate guideline range in juvenile delinquency proceedings which will be used solely to determine the upper limit in setting the maximum term for which a juvenile may be committed to official detention, absent circumstances that would warrant departure under 18 U.S.C.A. § 3553(b).