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Juveniles on Trial: Mode of Conviction and the Adult Court Sentencing of Transferred Juveniles

Peter S. Lehmann

Several studies have compared the criminal court sentences given to transferred juveniles with those given to adults, but this research has reported inconsistent findings. Additionally, some research has found that mode of conviction can interact with offenders’ characteristics, resulting in stronger or weaker effects of these factors among defendants convicted at trials. The current study explores the direct effects of juvenile status on sentence severity and whether these effects are conditioned by mode of conviction. Examination of data from Florida circuit courts (N = 1,107,233) shows that transferred juveniles are less likely to be incarcerated than adults but are given longer incarceration sentences. Interaction analyses reveal that these disparities are weaker among trial cases than among plea cases.