Chapter 3.3 Juveniles Covered by the ICJ

Juveniles Covered by the ICJ

Article I of the ICJ provides significant insight into who is subject to the Compact.  It states, in part, that “The compacting states to this Interstate Compact recognize that each state is responsible for the proper supervision or return of juveniles, delinquents and status offenders who are on probation or parole and who have absconded, escaped, or run away from supervision and control and in so doing have endangered their own safety and the safety of others.”   Interstate Compact for Juveniles, art. I (2008). Broadly speaking, the ICJ applies to all juveniles subject to some form of supervision and fall into one of the following categories:

  • Accused Delinquent – a person charged with an offense that, if committed by an adult, would be a criminal offense;
  • Adjudicated Delinquent – a person found to have committed an offense that, if committed by an adult, would be a criminal offense;
  • Accused Status Offender – a person charged with an offense that would not be a criminal offense if committed by an adult;
  • Adjudicated Status Offender – a person found to have committed an offense that would not be a criminal offense if committed by an adult; and
  • Non-Offender – a person in need of supervision who has not been accused or adjudicated a status offender or delinquent.

Several observations are in order.  First, with the exception of interstate runaways, a juvenile is not subject to the ICJ if no court-ordered supervision is imposed because of the underlying offense. See ICJ Rule 1-101 (Interstate Comm’n for Juveniles 2024).  A predicate for coverage under the ICJ is “supervision”.[4] Consequently, a juvenile placed on a form of “bench probation” or “unsupervised” probation probably is not covered by the compact as there is no supervision to transfer.  Such juveniles likely have committed minor offenses.  As a matter of logic, therefore, juveniles who have committed minor offenses are not subject to the ICJ absent a court or juvenile authority actually imposing some type of on-going supervision. However, a non-adjudicated juvenile sex offender sentenced under a “plea and abeyance” order is subject to the Compact. While such juvenile is classified as a “non-offender,” the Compact applies, provided the plea and abeyance order requires compliance with all laws and includes any other provisions, such as treatment or counseling, even if there are no other special conditions and/or no probation officer has been assigned to the juvenile. See ICJ Ad. Op. 03-2011(Interstate Comm’n for Juveniles 2011). 

Second, it is important to note that whether a juvenile falls into one of the above listed categories depends on the laws of the state where the delinquent act or status offense occurred.  Both Article II(H) of the Compact and ICJ Rule 1-101 state, in effect, that the term “juvenile” means any person defined as a juvenile in any member state or by the rules of the Interstate Commission.  Because the sentence is written in the disjunctive (that is, not “all” but “any”), the laws of the state where the offense occurred trigger the provisions of the ICJ, even if the individual would not be considered a juvenile in any other member state.  See, e.g., Washington v. Cook, 64 P.3d 58, 58 (Wash. Ct. App. 2003) (“Under Texas law, adult defendant properly charged with a crime while a child was subject to the jurisdiction of the Texas Juvenile Court, and thus the Washington court was required, pursuant to the ICJ, to honor Texas’s rendition request and return the juvenile to Texas, despite the defendant's claim that he was no longer a juvenile.”); see also, In re Appeal in Coconino Cty. Juvenile Action No. J-10359, 754 P.2d 1356, 1352-63 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1987) (in cases involving the ICJ, jurisdiction over a juvenile is derivative of the jurisdiction of the sending state; a “sending state” at all times retains jurisdiction over delinquent juveniles sent to institutions of other states; issue is not whether the receiving state can extend its jurisdiction past eighteen, but rather whether the sending state can make such an extension).

Finally, the fact that a juvenile delinquent may be covered by the ICJ does not limit the extradition powers of the states.  A juvenile delinquent may be extradited under the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act.  See, e.g., Ex parte Jetter, 495 S.W. 2d 925, 925 (Tex. Crim. App. 1973).  However, the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act would not apply to the return of a runaway to their legal guardian or custodial agency.  E.g., A Juvenile, 484 N.E.2d 995, 997 (Mass. 1985). 

[4] The ICJ Rules define the term “supervision” as “the oversight exercised by authorities of a sending or receiving state over a juvenile for a period of time determined by a court or appropriate authority, during which time the juvenile is required to report to or be monitored by appropriate authorities, and to comply with regulations and conditions, other than monetary conditions, imposed on the juvenile.” See ICJ Rule 1-101 (Interstate Comm’n For Juveniles 2024).