S2003/A4229 Promotes Rehabilitation Of Juvenile Offenders
- July 21, 2015
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In a move to promote rehabilitation of juvenile offenders, juveniles may receive additional protection from facing trial as adults if S2003, a Senate bill, the same as A4229 in the Assembly, is passed. The bill pertains to how juveniles facing criminal offenses may be tried, held before and after trial, and represented. Presently, juveniles age 14 and over may be tried as adults. S2003 would make 15 the minimum age at which a juvenile could be tried as an adult. S2003 would permit juveniles to be tried as adults only for Criminal homicide other than death by auto, strict liability for drug induced deaths, first-degree robbery, carjacking, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, second-degree aggravated assault, kidnapping, aggravated arson, certain gang criminality; or when the juvenile had previously been adjudicated delinquent, or convicted, on the basis of certain offenses enumerated; or when the juvenile had previously been sentenced and confined in an adult penal institution; or offense against a person committed in an aggressive, violent and willful manner; or the unlawful possession of a firearm, destructive device or other prohibited weapon, arson or death by auto while under the influence of an intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug; or a violation of N.J.S.2C:35-3, N.J.S.2C:35-4, or N.J.S.2C:35-5; or a conspiracy; certain forms of attempt or conspiracy; or theft of an automobile pursuant to chapter 20 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes; or possession of a firearm with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person of another or the crime of aggravated assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, burglary or escape if, while in the course of committing or attempting to commit the crime including the immediate flight therefrom, the juvenile possessed a firearm; or computer criminal activity which would be a crime of the first or second degree; and other specific crimes involving controlled dangerous substances. Juveniles age 14 and over may now be housed with adults but S2003 would prohibit juveniles under 18 from being incarcerated in adult jails or prisons rather than the current limit of 16 years old. In certain cases juveniles could remain in youth facilities until age 21 even if they are convicted as adults. At present, juveniles may be placed in solitary confinement for not more than ten days per month. As the concept behind S2003 is rehabilitation first and foremost, solitary confinement of juveniles would be a measure of last resort and heavily restricted. If all other avenues are exhausted and the juvenile remains a threat to facility security or others solitary confinement may be utilized for no more than two consecutive days for juveniles who are 15 years of age, three consecutive days for juveniles ages 16 and 17 and up to a maximum of five days for juveniles age 18 and over. Juvenile cases are typically heard in Family Court and, under S2003, they would be entitled to counsel, either private or appointed, during all hearings relating to the transfer of their individual case from the Family Part to the Criminal Part. A prosecutor seeking to move a juvenile matter to the Criminal Part would be required to provide written notice to the Family Part judge setting forth the reasons the transfer is being sought. Additionally, the Family Part judge would be required to undertake their own analysis and then accept or reject the prosecutor’s motion. The bill was passed by both the Senate and Assembly and now will move before Governor Chris Christie for consideration. If you or your child have been charged as a juvenile offender, it is critical that you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to protect your rights and your future. Do not compound one mistake by choosing the wrong criminal defense attorney. For more information about juvenile offenses, gang crimes, and various criminal offenses in New Jersey visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.