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Criminal Resource Manual

55. Step 3—Determine the Juvenile's Prior Criminal History

If you make a tentative decision to prosecute a juvenile in federal court, you should initiate a prompt search for certified copies of any prior criminal convictions or delinquency adjudications. These must be obtained and provided to the court. Prior juvenile records of the defendant must be provided to the court before it can transfer the case to adult status or proceed to sentencing in a juvenile adjudication. If there are no such records, the clerk of the appropriate juvenile court must certify in writing that the juvenile has no prior record or that the record is unavailable and why. 18 U.S.C. §  5032 (tenth paragraph).

The existence of a prior juvenile record is a critical factor in the court's determination whether to transfer a juvenile to adult status under the criteria set forth in the fifth paragraph of 18 U.S.C. § 5032. It is also evidence that the juvenile's response to prior juvenile treatment was unavailing.

If the juvenile charged with certain specified offenses has been previously convicted or adjudicated guilty of certain specified offenses, the granting of the government's motion to transfer the juvenile to adult status is mandatory. See the fourth paragraph of 18 U.S.C. § 5032. In these circumstances, the court has no discretion to deny the juvenile's transfer to adult status. See United States v. David H., 29 F.3d 489 (9th Cir. 1994).

[cited in Criminal Resource Manual 48]