John M. Tyd


juvenile law, adjudication, New York, Youthful Offender Statute, due process, criminal law, felony


New York's Youthful Offender Statute has been described as "humane and progressive legislation intended for the benefit of a youth who makes his first mistake and that he should not be branded as a criminal therefor..." In keeping with this philosophy, the statute provides a system whereby a youth (i.e., an individual between the ages of sixteen and eighteen) can avoid the serious consequences which result from being convicted of a crime. Upon determination that youthful offender status should be granted, the conviction is vacated and replaced with a youthful offender finding. Prior to 1975, those youths indicted for crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment (a class A felony), or previously convicted of any felony, were excluded automatically from youthful offender consideration. In 1973 a revision of the state's drug laws had divided class A felonies into three sections (A-I, A-II and A-III) and provided a minimum sentencing term for each subdivision. The 1975 amendment to the youthful offender statute recognized this change in felony classifications. Under the new provisions, those youths indicted for class A-I and A-II felonies continued to be excluded from youthful offender treatment, while those indicted for A-I felonies became eligible for such treatment. This Note will examine the youthful offender statute and its 1975 amendment in light of People v. Drummond, which held that the pre-1975 statute violated the due process clause, and the conflicting lower court decisions.

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Juvenile Law Commons



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