2006 Code of Virginia § 16.1-285.1 - Commitment of serious offenders

16.1-285.1. Commitment of serious offenders.

A. In the case of a juvenile fourteen years of age or older who has beenfound guilty of an offense which would be a felony if committed by an adult,and either (i) the juvenile is on parole for an offense which would be afelony if committed by an adult, (ii) the juvenile was committed to the statefor an offense which would be a felony if committed by an adult within theimmediately preceding twelve months, (iii) the felony offense is punishableby a term of confinement of greater than twenty years if the felony wascommitted by an adult, or (iv) the juvenile has been previously adjudicateddelinquent for an offense which if committed by an adult would be a felonypunishable by a term of confinement of twenty years or more, and the circuitcourt, or the juvenile or family court, as the case may be, finds thatcommitment under this section is necessary to meet the rehabilitative needsof the juvenile and would serve the best interests of the community, then thecourt may order the juvenile committed to the Department of Juvenile Justicefor placement in a juvenile correctional center for the period of timeprescribed pursuant to this section.

Alternatively, in order to determine if a juvenile, transferred from ajuvenile and domestic relations district court to a circuit court pursuant to 16.1-269.1, appropriately qualifies for commitment pursuant to thissection, notwithstanding the inapplicability of the qualification criteriaset forth in clauses (i) through (iv), the circuit court may consider thecommitment criteria set forth in subdivisions 1, 2, and 3 of subsection B aswell as other components of the juvenile's life history and, if upon suchconsideration in the opinion of the court the needs of the juvenile and theinterests of the community would clearly best be served by commitmenthereunder, may so commit the juvenile.

B. Prior to committing any juvenile pursuant to this section, the court shallconsider:

1. The juvenile's age;

2. The seriousness and number of the present offenses, including (i) whetherthe offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated, or willfulmanner; (ii) whether the offense was against persons or property, withgreater weight being given to offenses against persons, especially if deathor injury resulted; (iii) whether the offense involved the use of a firearmor other dangerous weapon by brandishing, displaying, threatening with orotherwise employing such weapon; and (iv) the nature of the juvenile'sparticipation in the alleged offense;

3. The record and previous history of the juvenile in this or any otherjurisdiction, including (i) the number and nature of previous contacts withcourts, (ii) the number and nature of prior periods of probation, (iii) thenumber and nature of prior commitments to juvenile correctional centers, (iv)the number and nature of previous residential and community-based treatments,(v) whether previous adjudications and commitments were for delinquent actsthat involved the infliction of serious bodily injury, and (vi) whether theoffense is part of a repetitive pattern of similar adjudicated offenses; and

4. The Department's estimated length of stay.

Such commitment order must be supported by a determination that the interestsof the juvenile and community require that the juvenile be placed under legalrestraint or discipline and that the juvenile is not a proper person toreceive treatment or rehabilitation through other juvenile programs orfacilities.

C. In ordering commitment pursuant to this section, the court shall specify aperiod of commitment not to exceed seven years or the juvenile's twenty-firstbirthday, whichever shall occur first. The court may also order a period ofdeterminate or indeterminate parole supervision to follow the commitment butthe total period of commitment and parole supervision shall not exceed sevenyears or the juvenile's twenty-first birthday, whichever occurs first.

D. Upon receipt of a juvenile committed under the provisions of this section,the Department shall evaluate the juvenile for the purpose of consideringplacement of the juvenile in an appropriate juvenile correctional center forthe time prescribed by the committing court. Such a placement decision shallbe made based on the availability of treatment programs at the facility; thelevel of security at the facility; the offense for which the juvenile hasbeen committed; and the welfare, age and gender of the juvenile.

E. The court which commits the juvenile to the Department under this sectionshall have continuing jurisdiction over the juvenile throughout hiscommitment. The continuing jurisdiction of the court shall not prevent theDepartment from removing the juvenile from a juvenile correctional centerwithout prior court approval for the sole purposes of routine or emergencymedical treatment, routine educational services, or family emergencies.

F. Any juvenile committed under the provisions of this section shall not bereleased at a time earlier than that specified by the court in itsdispositional order except as provided for in 16.1-285.2. The Departmentmay petition the committing court for a hearing as provided for in 16.1-285.2 for an earlier release of the juvenile when good cause exists foran earlier release. In addition, the Department shall petition the committingcourt for a determination as to the continued commitment of each juvenilesentenced under this section at least sixty days prior to the secondanniversary of the juvenile's date of commitment and sixty days prior to eachannual anniversary thereafter.

(1985, c. 260; 1989, c. 717; 1992, c. 484; 1994, cc. 859, 949; 1996, cc. 755,914; 2001, c. 563.)

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