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Youthful Offender Provisions in Iowa

The courts use a different standard when the court considers a motion for waiver for the purpose of prosecuting the child as a “youthful offender” rather than as an adult.

Although the trial of a youthful offender takes place in adult court, if the child is convicted of the crime then the sentence is deferred and the child’s supervision is transferred back to the juvenile court, until the child’s 18th birthday. When the child turns 18 years old, the adult court has a number of sentencing options, including:

  • continuing the child on youthful offender status;
  • entering a sentence;
  • suspending the sentence; or
  • placing the child on probation.

For purposes of youthful offender prosecution, the waiver is permitted in the case of a child who is no older than 15 if the court finds that:

  • there is probable cause to believe the child committed an offense that would have been excluded from juvenile court jurisdiction if the child had been 16; and
  • the State has established that there are no reasonable prospects for rehabilitating the child before his 18th birthday within the juvenile court system.

In making this determination, the court must consider determinative factors listed in the statutory scheme including the best interests of the child and the community.