It was 1971 when the voting age in the US was set to 18 years of age. Prior to that it was 21. At 18, a child legally becomes and adult. That independence grants many benefits, but it includes a new range of consequences and punishment too. The general attitude across the country is that people are responsible for their actions at 18. That they are adults.
Removing the 'Millstone Around the Youth of Our State'
The current sex offender registry system is flawed. Otherwise consensual sex punishable as statutory rape or the possession and distribution of "child pornography" that sexting between teens has been come to be viewed as can land a teenager on the list for a term of year up to life.
Charged with killing a homeless man in Raleigh, at least four area teens may be tried as adults for the crime. The Wake County Prosecutor has confirmed that may seek a transfer of some of the teens involved in the death of 37-year-old Regynald Brown to adult court.
In 1998, about 1,400 North Carolina kids were being sent to state training facilities each year after being convicted of or pleading guilty to a criminal offense. Now that number is down to about 300 minors per year entering one of North Carolina's four detention centers. The centers are geared toward education, counseling and treatment rather than incarceration, changes that were recommended in the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1998.
Anyone under the age of 18, whether tried as a juvenile or adult, who is convicted of murder can no longer be sentenced to life without parole without consideration being given to his or her age and the nature of the crime. The Supreme Court recently held, in Miller v. Alabama, that mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders violate the 8th Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
North Carolina has the toughest laws in the country for 16 and 17-year-olds accused of crimes. Since 1919, these young people are tried as adults if they are charged with any crime, felonies as well as misdemeanors.
An earlier blog post discussed the basics of an important juvenile law decision. With the critical children's rights decision in the North Carolina juvenile case J.D.B. v. State of North Carolina, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that age must be considered by law enforcement when a suspect is being questioned. This post will discuss the key legal conclusions for criminal defense cases following the Court's opinion.
A U.S. Supreme Court decision based on a North Carolina criminal case has far-reaching importance for juveniles questioned throughout the country. The Supreme Court ruled that police officers questioning a juvenile who is in custody must consider the age of youth. Age is relevant, the Court ruled, when deciding whether a Miranda warning is necessary if the youth is in custody.
North Carolina, like many other states around the country, is looking for ways to trim and balance the state budget. One possibility that would help to balance the budget is to cut juvenile court resources by millions of dollars.