“The Devil is in the details” should be the theme of the Legislative Research Commission’s Age of Juvenile Offender Committee. This committee is meeting to discuss what to go about last year’s “Raise the Age” bill. HB632/S506 was proposed in 2011, and would raise the age from 16 to 18 to determine whether you would to go directly to an adult court. NC is one of the strictest states on this issue, but there are still too many questions about the details of this bill to put it through the legislature.
Some scenarios to think about before this bill passes are:
-It takes 30 minutes for an officer to process an adult charged with a misdemeanor, compared to 5 hours for a juvenile. Is it worth the extra 4.5 hours of having an officer fill out paperwork rather than be out on the streets fighting crime?
-Your next-door neighbor who is 17 pulls a gun on his teacher because he is upset about a grade. He is charged with a misdemeanor, but because he is 17 the public does not know who did this. Would you want to know the name of a student that threatened a teacher in your child’s school?
-You have a restraining order against a 16-year-old who assaulted your child at school. The 16-year-old was convicted of a felony and now has violated the restraining order by coming to your home to threaten your child. Should the violation of the restraining order be tried in juvenile court even though the assailant has a felony conviction in an adult court?
There are many other details, questions, and scenarios that need to be addressed in this bill before it goes to the floor.