Other Than the Fact of Prior Conviction: Apprendi v. New Jersey and Sentence Enhancements Based on Juvenile Adjudications

Barry C. Feld, University of Minnesota Law School

In Apprendi v. New Jersey, the Supreme Court held that any fact, other than the fact of a prior conviction, that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Since Apprendi, some courts have applied that principle to the use of juvenile prior convictions for purposes of enhancements, reasoning that most states obtain delinquency adjudications without giving juveniles the right to a jury trial. E.g., United States v. Tighe, 266 F3d 1187 (9th Cir, 2001). This paper analyzes the implications of Apprendi for the use of juvenile prior convictions for adult enhancements as well as recent state supreme court decisions that have upheld the denial of jury trials in delinquency proceedings despite the increased punitivess of delinquency sanctions.

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Updated 05/20/2006