Senate Bill No. 537
(By Senator Minard)
[Introduced February 14, 2003; referred to the Committee on the
A BILL to amend and reenact section six, article four, chapter
twenty-five of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to young adult
offenders; and including in the term "felony offense" a plea
of guilty to a misdemeanor as the result of bargaining down
from a felony charge.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section six, article four, chapter twenty-five of the
code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 4. CENTERS FOR HOUSING YOUNG ADULT OFFENDERS.
§25-4-6. Assignment of offenders to center; period of center
confinement; return to court; sentence or probation;
revocation of probation.
The judge of any court with original criminal jurisdiction may suspend the imposition of sentence of any young adult, as defined
in this section, convicted of or pleading guilty to a felony
offense, other than an offense punishable by life imprisonment,
including, but not limited to, a plea of guilty to a misdemeanor in
exchange for the reduction of a felony charge and felony violations
of the provisions of chapter seventeen-c of this code, who has
attained his or her eighteenth birthday but has not reached his or
her twenty-third birthday at the time of the sentencing by the
court and commit the young adult to the custody of the West
Virginia commissioner of corrections to be assigned to a center.
Young adult offenders who have previously been committed to a young
adult offender center are not eligible for commitment to this
program. The period of confinement in the center shall be for a
period of not less than six months, or longer to successfully
complete the program requirements set by the warden, but in any
event the period of confinement may not exceed two years. The
court shall order a presentence investigation to be conducted and
provide the warden with a copy of the presentence investigation
report, along with the commitment order.
If, in the opinion of the warden, the young adult offender
proves to be an unfit person to remain in the center, the offender
shall be returned to the committing court to be dealt with further
according to law. In that event, the court may sentence the
offender for the crime for which the offender was convicted. In his or her discretion, the judge may allow the defendant credit on
the sentence for time the offender spent in the center.
A young adult offender shall be returned to the jurisdiction
of the court which originally committed the offender when, in the
opinion of the warden, the young adult offender has satisfactorily
completed the center training program. The offender is then
eligible for probation for the offense with which the offender is
charged and the judge of the court shall immediately place the
offender on probation. In the event the offender's probation is
subsequently revoked, the judge shall impose the sentence the young
adult offender would have originally received had the offender not
been committed to the center and subsequently placed on probation.
The court shall, however, give the offender credit on his or her
sentence for the time spent in the center.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to treat a young adult as
being convicted of a felony, under the section, if he plea
bargained a felony charge down to a misdemeanor conviction.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would