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Juvenile Justice News

Louisiana Senate backs slight delay to 'Raise the Age' law

Louisiana's plans to raise the age of adult prosecution would be delayed, under a bill that won unanimous Senate support.

Lawmakers in 2016 agreed to stop automatically routing 17-year-olds through the adult criminal justice system when arrested.

The juvenile justice system is supposed to start handling 17-year-olds charged with non-violent crimes July 1. Offenders charged with more serious or violent crimes join two years later.

Louisiana should give juvenile lifers a chance to redeem themselves

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that life without parole for juveniles should only be used in rare cases and said inmates must be given a chance to argue for their release. In 2016, in a decision in a Louisiana case, the court broadened the effect of the ruling by making it retroactive. 

Louisiana “Raise the Age” law to be delayed several months

Louisiana’s plans to raise the age of adult prosecution will be delayed slightly.

Lawmakers gave final passage with a 31-0 Senate vote Thursday to legislation postponing a plan they approved in 2016 to stop automatically routing 17-year-olds through the adult criminal justice system when arrested.

LOUISIANA: New Orleans, Lafayette teenagers to lobby legislators about raising age for adulthood in criminal justice system

Earlier this year, Jasmine Jeff went to the animal shelter feeling like a responsible teenager — and walked away feeling like a child. Her father had told her she could adopt a dog. So Jeff, who was then 17, walked into the shelter, looked in the first window and fell in love with a terrier, small in size but with outsized charm, she said. But she was then told she was not eligible to adopt it because she was not yet 18.

LOUISIANA: Raise The Age bill to charge 17-year-olds as juveniles passes Louisiana House

Louisiana is about to raise the age of what is considered an adult in the eyes of the law. To date, Louisiana is one of nine states where 17-year-olds who commit minor offenses are treated as adults. Senate Bill 324 on Thursday won easy approval in the Louisiana House and already has been approved by the state Senate. The measure passed the House by a vote of 97-3 with 21 co-authors. But a minor change in wording means the legislation must return to the Senate for final passage. 

LOUISIANA: Study: Orleans Parish DA prosecutes 80 percent of juvenile offenders as adults

Article in WDSU 6 News

For teens who get in trouble with the law in Orleans Parish and are accused of violent offenses, there is about an 80 percent chance they will be charged as an adult.

The findings are from a Southern Poverty Law Center study on how juveniles are prosecuted in New Orleans. For 15 to 16 year olds the District Attorney has the sole discretion to transfer that case to adult court.

"More than 83 percent of juvenile cases are transferred to adult court. That's out of step with other parishes in Louisiana, said Meredith Angelson with the Southern Poverty Center. That's compared to 22 percent in neighboring Jefferson Parish, and 5-7 cases a year in Baton Rouge.

The advocacy group believes trying juveniles as adults causes more harm than good. They are appealing to District Attorney, Leon Cannizzaro,  to consider special circumstances.

LOUISIANA: Too young to take custody of his son, but old enough to be tried as an adult?

Buying a lottery ticket.  Voting.  Serving on a jury.  Joining the military. To do any of those things you have to be at least 18.  In Louisiana, though, you automatically enter the adult justice system at 17 — even for minor offenses. That needs to change.The illogic behind this policy hits close to home for me. I am a high school senior of 17 with a one-year-old son who is my pride and joy.  When he was born, I was not able to sign his birth certificate. Too young, I was told. When my son’s mother ran into some legal problems and couldn’t care for him, the judge told me that I was ineligible to file for custody because I was not an “adult”.

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Marcus Williams: Help us, don't incarcerate us

I went from honor roll student to “menace to society.” That’s how I was labeled after a series of poor choices when I was 17 led me to Lincoln Hills School for Boys, Wisconsin’s notorious youth prison that has been under federal and state investigations for almost two years. 

Maryland bills move state backward on crime

An Open Letter to the African-American legislators of the State of Maryland:

In recent years, a consensus has emerged that mandatory minimum sentences do much more harm than good. More than 30 states — from New York to Louisiana — have rolled back mandatory minimums for a host of crimes. Unfortunately, Maryland is considering moving in the other direction by creating new mandatory minimums for carrying loaded guns and using guns in violent crimes: House Bill 1029 and Senate Bill 122, respectively. These bills are being pushed forward on a wave of justified fear about high crime in Baltimore, frustration with a police force that seems to have lost the respect and cooperation of the people it serves, and election-year pressure to “do something,” anything, to stanch the bleeding.

MARYLAND: Efforts to reconsider life sentences for juveniles gain momentum in Maryland

On a January day in 2005, Matthew McCullough stood at the defense table in a crowded Towson courtroom. The 18-year-old was facing a judge for his role in a shooting outside Randallstown High School — an act of violence that left the suburbs shaken and another teen paralyzed. William "Tipper" Thomas III, also 18, watched from his wheelchair, where doctors had told him he would remain for the rest of his life. The sentence: one hundred years. 

Maryland: Report - Provide Treatment, Not More Juvenile Prisons

Juvenile Justice Exchange

Maryland should invest in community-based treatment for juvenile delinquents instead of spending $225 million to build three juvenile prisons and replace buildings at a fourth, a state juvenile justice advisory panel urged. The Maryland Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit, part of the state Office of the Attorney General, made its recommendations in a 51-page report. "We should be contracting with folks offering evidence-based treatments in the community in the same way as if one of our children got in trouble," said Nick Moroney, the unit's director. 

Mass. watching as Vermont pulls teenagers into family court 

A task force created under the criminal justice law Gov. Charlie Baker signed in March will be able to look northwest to Vermont as it studies the juvenile court system here. Among several other measures, the law included reforms to how Massachusetts courts deal with children, teenagers and young adults, such as making certain crimes committed by offenders up to age 21 eligible for expungement and raising the age of criminal responsibility from 7 to 12.

Md. lawmakers consider housing for youth charged as adults (Maryland)

After 10 years as chief of the St. Mary’s County Detention Center, Capt. Michael Merican is in a situation he says isn’t just difficult, it’s impossible. Merican pays close attention to the needs and well-being of 200 inmates, but one causes him constant worry: a terrified 17-year-old boy. “I have him in a medical holding cell all by himself because he’s too frightened to even put him in protective custody unit with other adults,” Merican said of the teen, who arrived at the facility Jan. 6 after being charged as an adult with assault and kidnapping. “He can’t watch TV or play board games. I put him out to recreation all by himself. He’s scared to death.”

Memphis Teen Held in Adult Jail Moving to Juvenile Facility

A teenager held in solitary confinement at an adult prison on a murder charge in Tennessee is set to be moved to a juvenile facility.

The Commercial Appeal reports that a Criminal Court judge has signed an order to transfer 16-year-old Teriyona Winton to the Shelby County Detention Center.

Winton is charged as an adult in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Deago Brown when she was 15 in Memphis.

Winton has been held in an adult prison in Henning since April. Before that, she was held in solitary confinement for months at a state prison for adult women in Nashville.

Memphis teen to be housed in empty prison wing after months in solitary confinement

A Memphis teen who spent months awaiting trial in solitary confinement at a Nashville prison is days away from moving to an empty wing of a different prison.

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