State News

Bills seek to keep more youths in juvenile courts

Posted May 5, 2009

— Advocates for young offenders are trying again to get North Carolina law changed so that 16- and 17-year-olds will be tried in the juvenile courts in most situations.

The group Action for Children North Carolina planned a news conference Tuesday at the Legislative Building, along with legislators who have filed bills to raise the age of jurisdiction by adult courts to age 18.

Action for Children says North Carolina is the only state where 16-year-olds are prosecuted automatically in adult court, with no exceptions. The House and Senate bills wouldn't change the current law that allows a child as young as 13 to be tried in adult court on a felony if a judge agrees.

The bills also would create a panel help with the transition.


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  • OncomingStorm May 5, 2009

    Time was that Wake County saw a juvenile commit an armed robbery or other weapon-related assault once in a blue moon. Now it is every week, sometimes several per week. That isn't even counting sex and drug crimes which have also skyrocketed in recent years. The state juvenile justice system is not equipped with personnel, money and other resources for this oft-proposed change. Anyone that says differently hasn't worked in/with the system.

  • My3centsworth May 5, 2009

    I have been an officer in a state where the age criterial for a juvenile was under 18 yoa, what a joke! Someone needs to get a grip and bury this bill so deep in committee that it will never see the light of day...ever.

  • whatusay May 5, 2009

    What a dumb idea of a bill. If a capital crime is committed by a 15-16-17-18 year old they know what they are doing. Don't give them a free pass because their parents were too stupid to teach them moral, acceptable behavior, and social values. Is this what we are paying elected officials to do? This is not acceptable to the law abiding citizens of NC.

  • mac5535 May 5, 2009

    The people in Action for Children have no idea what they are doing and have undoubtedly led a sheltered life. They need to get out of their plushy surroundings and see what is actually going on in this world. Violent criminals are getting younger and younger and it will cost the tax payers a tremendous amount of money to get the court system changed.

    The legislators need to listen to Colon Willoughby and not a bunch of liberal do gooders.

  • TheAdmiral May 5, 2009

    I have a 15 year old I want to add into the system.

  • working for deadbeats May 5, 2009

    Good idea. We need more touchy feely liberalism in our court system. That'll fix them. More parenting? Nah, that's for responsible people who actually wanted their kids.

  • BigUNCFan May 5, 2009

    This is a terrible idea.

    They should all be tried as adults after they are 13.

  • RonnieR May 5, 2009

    Well, it would mean that those committing driving offenses17 and under would probably just get a warning. It would really tie up a LEO's time to run down a Juvie Court Couseler to get a petition.

  • dohicky May 5, 2009

    Need reformatory schools for these 16 year old delinquents before they get to be 16 instead of trying to keep there name on the roll in a school to make the drop out rate look good; this does nothing but add to the problems of the education of our children.

  • itsnews2me May 5, 2009

    This bill should absolutely be opposed by every law-abiding citizen of North Carolina! The trial venue and punishment should be dependent upon the crime committed for 16 and 17-year olds!