Because of the increase in the number and severity of violent crimes committed by juveniles, public demand for harsher penalties and proceedings for young offenders also increases each year.2 Congress has responded to the public outcry by enacting numerous pieces of legislation that mandate federal juvenile accountability. This legislation represents a drastic departure from the federal government's traditional policy of leaving juvenile justice affairs to the states. One of the many congressional acts in the past decades confers federal jurisdiction upon prosecution of juveniles who commit serious violent or drug related crimes if the United States Attorney certifies that the case involves "a substantial federal interest."3 The various courts of appeals are split on the question of "who ultimately decides?" Does the United States Attorney make the ultimate decision, or do the courts have the authority to review when the decision is contested? As the conflict among the circuits and within the Missouri Eastern District Court reveals, this question is open to divergent interpretations.

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