New Illinois law offers 17 year-olds charged with misdemeanors chance in juvenile court
February 10, 2009
Source: Juvenile Justice Initiative/Models for Change Illinois
Enacted on February 10, 2009, Public Act 95-1031 is a new Illinois state law that provides that 17 year-olds charged with a misdemeanor to be tried in juvenile court, instead of charging, trying and sentencing them as adults. This juvenile court reform brings Illinois in line with 38 other states and the Disctrict of Columbia, that consider 18 as the age of adult jurisdiction for misdemeanors.
“With this change in law, Illinois recognizes the importance of treating low-level juvenile offenders in juvenile court instead of condemning them to the adult system,” stated Diane Geraghty, Director of the Loyola Civitas ChildLaw Center, lead entity for the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative in Illinois. “This incremental approach makes sense and will improve public safety, save money, and save kids.”
“High school juniors and seniors who happen to be 17 years old are not adults,” said George W. Timberlake, retired chief judge of the 2nd Judicial Circuit. “In no other area of law, do we allow them to have the rights of adults. We should not send them to an adult criminal system where their chances of committing more crimes are much higher.”
For more information, read the full promising story, press release and fact sheet.
Issue(s): Right-sizing Jurisdiction