In the near future, prosecutors may not be able to try teens as an adult if they are under the age of 20 and live in California. Current laws allow people under the age of 18 to be transferred from the juvenile justice system to the adult criminal justice system, provided the crime is a serious felony.
While some Californians may think trying minors as adults is acceptable in some cases, such as crimes that result in death or sexual assault, many people take issue with the practice. Adolescents are notorious for making poor decisions; they don’t always think about the potential ramifications of a particular action.
It’s no secret that teenagers are impulsive and prone to make rash decisions that can lead them to commit offenses. They may even commit a crime even when they know better.
Some may chalk up juvenile offenses as being the byproduct of bad parenting or peer pressure. However, the available science paints a different picture of why some teens get in trouble with the law and why trying them as adults is not the right course.
Trying Minors as Adults
Senator Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, has proposed legislation that would ban the practice of charging people under the age of 20 as an adult, The Sacramento Bee reports. Senate Bill 889 is rooted in scientific research that shows that the brain is not fully developed until one is in their mid-twenties.
The proposal is not fully developed yet, but Sen. Skinner is working with the Chief Probation Officers of California and the National Center for Youth Law to write the legislation, according to the article. The bill will rely heavily on the available research regarding adolescent brains and their underdeveloped prefrontal cortices.
“When teenagers make serious mistakes and commit crimes, state prison is not the answer,” said bill sponsor Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. “Processing teenagers through the juvenile justice system will help ensure they receive the appropriate education, counseling, treatment, and rehabilitation services necessary to achieve real public safety outcomes.” Please take a moment to watch a short video on the subject:
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Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you care about is having legal difficulties, then The Law Office of Ronald G. Brower can help be your legal advocate. Attorney Brower has been practicing law in California for more than 30 years, and he has the experience to help you achieve a favorable outcome. Please contact our office for a consultation today.