Local News

Juvenile Crime Commission Considering Age-Related Sentencing

Posted January 22, 1998

— What's the best way to keep children out of trouble? That's a question the Governor's Juvenile Crime Commission will spend the next two weeks trying to find answers to.

The idea behind the commission is to keep children out of trouble, but much of Friday's session was spent discussing those who are alreadyintrouble. The court system was a frequent topic, with commissioners looking at the way teens can be charged with crimes they commit.

Currently, someone as young as 13 can be charged as an adult in the court system. One of Friday's proposals was to lower from 16 to 15 the age at which a district attorney can automatically charge a young person in the adult system.

Commission member Lucy Bode was the lone, dissenting vote on that issue. She says there is such a thing as getting "too tough".

Durham Juvenile Court Judge Kenneth Titus, also on the commission, says the real focus of the commission has been on the prevention of juvenile crime.

One concern among some judges is that some of the commission's recommendations could take power away from the bench.

The commission is working on its report, but time is running out. The list of recommendations is due on Governor Hunt's desk by February 2. After he reviews it, it will go before the NC General Assembly for consideration and possible legislation.

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