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January 30, 2008

A (last?) federal juve parole case

A distinctive case and facts leads to an interesting opinion from the Tenth Circuit in Alexander v. US Parole Commission, No. 06-1343 (10th Cir. Jan 29, 2008) (available here). Here is how the opinion begins:

The Federal Youth Corrections Act (“YCA”), enacted in 1950, was designed to prevent youths from hardening into habitual offenders by providing them with treatment aimed at achieving rehabilitation.  18 U.S.C. § 5010 (repealed 1984).  Because the statute was repealed in 1984, there are few inmates remaining who were sentenced under the Act. Petitioner-appellee Roy Alexander may be the only one.  The brutality of his crime — a murder and robbery of four individuals — sets him apart from most YCA offenders and makes his case particularly difficult. Because Mr. Alexander’s crime was so heinous, the United States Parole Commission (“Commission”) has repeatedly denied parole despite Mr. Alexander’s successful completion of his treatment program. Though on each previous habeas petition the district court found the Commission’s denial supported by the evidence, on his most recent petition the district court granted him relief, ordering the Commission to take into consideration possible conditions on release in its analysis of Mr. Alexander’s parole eligibility, and to develop a pre-release plan for Mr. Alexander, to be followed by the Bureau of Prisons.  The Commission appeals from this order.  We take jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and 28 U.S.C. § 2253 and affirm in part and reverse in part.

January 30, 2008 at 06:20 AM | Permalink


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Just to be clear, Doug, the old federal Youth Corrections Act was *not* a juvenile delinquency provision (as your "juve" headline suggests). Federal juvenile delinquency cases under pre-1987 law, as now, involved offenders who had not reached their 18th birthday. The YCA (repealed in 11/84) provided indeterminate, rehabilitation-based sentencing for "youthful" defendants aged 18 to 22. In the Court's discretion it could even be applied to a "young adult" offender aged 22 to 26. Those sentenced under YCA, unlike federal juvenile cases, went to adult prisons (unless placed on probation immediately), although "to the extent practicable" were to be kept apart from older inmates.

Posted by: Peter G | Jan 30, 2008 9:48:23 AM

Information from the U.S. DOJ, History of U.S. Parole Commission web page: On September 30, 1950, the Youth Corrections Act was passed by Congress. Under this legislation, federal offenders less than 22 years of age at the time of conviction could be sentenced to indeterminate sentences with no minimum period of parole ineligibility.

Posted by: | Jun 11, 2008 7:12:45 AM

As a former, ahem, 'participant' in the YCA program, (1968-1980)I would add that when/if you successfully completed your parole, the charge of whatever(in my case: bank robbery)was reduced to a misdemeanor.

Still I stand by my convictions... both the felonies and the misdemeanors.

Posted by: Hog Whitman | May 2, 2009 3:47:13 AM

I was sentenced under the youth act at the age of 22, and subsequently never had any more felony arrests. Only traffic and misdemeaner assault. Will this charge show up on my record for employment.

Posted by: ken | Apr 26, 2010 12:07:23 PM

if your discharge was "honorable" it won't show up on your state or ncic rap sheet. if it was less than honorable, it will show up on your ncic sheet if they dig deep enough.

Posted by: jay andre | Jul 6, 2010 9:01:54 PM

i served 30 months of a 6 yr yca sentence for 211(3)(a) 1978-1980. i got an "honorable" discharge after 2 years clean on parole, circa 1983.

Posted by: jay andre | Jul 6, 2010 9:05:12 PM

if your discharge was "honorable" it won't show up on your state or ncic rap sheet. if it was less than honorable, it will show up on your ncic sheet if they dig deep enough.

Posted by: jay andre | Jul 6, 2010 9:01:54 PM

Posted by: jay andre | Jul 6, 2010 9:06:55 PM

I am a defense attorney representing a client in a parole violation hearing who was originally sentenced under the YCA. Based on my unfamiliarity with this Act, I have a number of questions. Please contact me. Thanks.

Posted by: Mr. Powell | May 6, 2011 7:51:18 PM

So if you were sentenced under the Federal Youth Corrections act in 1980 and then the law is repealed, is your felony dropped off your record as the law states, when you complete your 6 year sentence ?

Posted by: RA Hunter | Jul 16, 2015 4:18:35 PM

I am a former Federal Prisoner who was sentenced to the Federal Youth Corrections Act. Title 18 Section 5010B which was repealed in 1984.

Posted by: RA Hunter | Jul 16, 2015 4:20:08 PM

So how do I find out if my Felony has dropped off my record like Federal Youth Corrections law read ?

Posted by: RA Hunter | Jul 16, 2015 4:21:31 PM

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