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A04876 Summary:

BILL NOA04876
 
SAME ASSAME AS S04157
 
SPONSORLentol
 
COSPNSRJaffee, Heastie, Aubry, Weinstein, Perry, Weprin, Farrell, Hevesi, O'Donnell, Lupardo, Blake, Sepulveda, Mosley, Ramos, Hooper, Cook, Arroyo, Ortiz, Rivera, Peoples-Stokes, Titus, Crespo, Moya, Kim, Rozic, Solages, Davila, Pichardo, Barron, Bichotte, Dilan, Jean-Pierre, Joyner, Walker, Richardson, Simon, Rosenthal, Gottfried, Titone, Rodriguez, Fahy, Abinanti, Harris, Hyndman, Carroll, De La Rosa, Dinowitz
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Amd Fam Ct Act, generally; amd §§153-k, 371, 398, 404 & 409-a, add Art 6 Title 12 §§458-m & 458-n, Soc Serv L; amd §§30.00, 60.02, 60.10, 70.05, 70.20, 70.30 & 10.00, Pen L; amd §74, Chap 3 of 1995; amd CP L, generally; amd §500-a, rpld §500-b sub 4, sub 8 ¶(c) sub¶ 3, §500-b sub 13, Cor L; amd §3214, Ed L; amd Exec L, generally; amd §§109-c & 510, V & T L
 
Relates to raising the age for prosecution of certain crimes; amends the definitions for juvenile delinquent, persons in need of supervision, infant and juvenile offender; creates a youth part for certain proceedings involving juvenile offenders; and establishes that no county jail be used for the confinement of persons under the age of eighteen.
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A04876 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A4876
 
SPONSOR: Lentol
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the family court act, in relation to family court proceedings, jurisdiction of the court, the definition of juvenile delinquent, the definition of a designated felony act, the procedures regarding the adjustment of cases from criminal courts to family court, the age at which children may be tried as an adult for various felonies, and the manner in which courts handle juvenile delinquent cases; to amend the social services law, in relation to state reimbursement for expenditures made by social services districts for various services; to amend the social services law, in relation to the definitions of juve- nile delinquent and persons in need of supervision; to amend the penal law, in relation to the definition of infancy and the authorized dispo- sitions, sentences, and periods of post-release supervision for juvenile offenders; to amend chapter 3 of the laws of 1995, enacting the sentenc- ing reform act of 1995, in relation to extending the expiration of certain provisions of such chapter; to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to the definition of juvenile offender; to amend the crimi- nal procedure law, in relation to the arrest of a juvenile offender without a warrant; in relation to conditional sealing of certain convictions; in relation to removal of certain proceedings to family court; in relation to joinder of offenses and consolidation of indict- ments; in relation to appearances and hearings for and placements of certain juvenile offenders; in relation to raising the age for juvenile offender status; in relation to creating a youth part for certain proceedings involving juvenile offenders; to amend the correction law, in relation to requiring that no county jail be used for the confinement of persons under the age of eighteen; to amend the education law, in relation to certain contracts with the office of children and family services; to amend the education law, in relation to the possession of a gun on school grounds by a student; to amend the executive law, in relation to persons in need of supervision or youthful offenders; and to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to convictions; and in relation to suspension, revocation and reissuance of licenses and regis- trations; and to repeal certain provisions of the correction law relat- ing to the housing of prisoners and other persons in custody   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL The bill amends and enacts various provisions of law to raise the age of adult criminal responsibility from sixteen to eighteen so that youth who are charged with a crime may be treated in a more age appropriate manner. The changes implemented in the bill reflect the evidence that, the current system has not been effective in deterring and preventing future crime, while maintaining a mechanism that youth, on a case by case basis, may be tried in adult criminal court when the circumstances warrant.   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Generally, the bill would treat 16 and 17 year olds charged with crimes in the same manner that 15 year olds are treated under existing law. Specifically, the bill would: *raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18; *prohibit the placement of anyone under the age of 18 in adult jail or prison; *apply the current list of juvenile offenses to 16 and 17-year olds and create a narrow list of additional juvenile offenses applicable only to 16- and 17-year olds. The new juvenile offenses are limited to high level violent felony offenses that are first degree crimes, felony sex crimes and crimes having to do with biological weapons; *establish a youth part in adult criminal court wherein juvenile offen- ders will be processed. Juvenile offenders will receive the same protections during questioning by police that youth adjudicated in Fami- ly Court receive, such as the presence of a parent and the requirement that such questioning take place in a location suitable for children. A case may be removed to Family Court, however the youth part, in its discretion, may retain the case as a juvenile delinquency proceeding and apply the Family Court Act; *prohibit the detention or placement of a juvenile offender for a violation of a condition of his or her probation that would not other- wise constitute a crime unless the juvenile poses a specific imminent threat to public safety or the use of graduated sanctions have been exhausted; *provide for the sealing of certain eligible offenses. Eligible offenses do not include homicide offenses, violent felony offenses as defined in the penal law, class A felonies, and offenses requiring registration as a sex offender. This provision will apply retroactively; *expand the existing youthful offender law to allow persons up to 20 years of age to be given youthful offender status and create a presump- tion of youthful offender status; *raise the age of juvenile delinquency to 12 unless the offense is murder, in which case the age is raised to 10; *provide that juveniles charged with misdemeanor and felony vehicle and traffic offenses would be charged as juvenile delinquents in family court. Traffic infractions would remain in the local courts; *allow additional opportunities for juvenile delinquents to receive services by requiring probation to make a service needs assessment of each youth, and allow the judge to order services at various stages of the Family Court proceeding; *require probation to seek adjustment of a juvenile delinquency case_ before a petition is filed, and in instances where the written approval of the court is required to adjust a case (for juvenile delinquents removed from the Youth Part in Criminal Court to the Family Court), require probation to seek such written approval; *prohibit detention and placement of all low-level juvenile delinquents unless they score high on the risk assessment instrument or pose a threat to public safety; *allow detention and placement of Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS) only if the court finds that continuation in the home would exacerbate the underlying problem, or create a safety risk to the child or the child's family; *authorize detention of PINS only in a foster care setting, and only for shortened periods of time; *require Family Support Centers to be available statewide with full state reimbursement, and expand their scope of services to be provided to adjudicated PINS as well as alleged or adjudicated juvenile delin- quents; and *provide additional opportunities for PINS to be referred to Family Support Centers through judicial order at various stages in the Family Court proceeding.   JUSTIFICATION: New York is one of only two states (New York and North Carolina) to mandate that all youth aged sixteen and seventeen, charged with any offense, be prosecuted and sentenced in adult criminal court. While many other states have reconsidered this issue in light of new evidence on child development and cognitive thinking (including North Carolina which has taken steps to begin the process of reform), New York's very young age of adult responsibility has remained unchanged for decades. Addi- tionally, youth as young as thirteen or fourteen in some cases are tried in the adult criminal court system under New York's "Juvenile Offender" law. Several studies have shown that treating minors as adults in the crimi- nal justice system is often counter-productive in rehabilitating the youth and ineffective in preventing future criminal acts. Research has shown that children's brains do not fully develop until after the age of eighteen, and youths who engage in criminal conduct often do not have the same level of understanding of their actions as adults. In 2005, the United States Supreme Court ruled that states may not impose the death penalty for crimes committed by persons under the age of eighteen, citing evidence that minors are less mentally culpable for their actions than adults and further, that minors have a greater chance of rehabilitation. Additionally, studies have shown that the penalties and longer sentences often imposed by adult criminal courts do not reduce the recidivism rate of youth who commit crimes, compared to simi- larly situated youth who are adjudicated in a juvenile court system. The services and alternative to detention programs available in Family Court can help meet the specific needs of each youth, including treatment for mental health and substance abuse, often at lower cost. There are significant and sometimes lifelong implications for young people adjudicated in the criminal court system, which extend into the areas of education and employment, including earning potential. Only about one-third of young adults returning from prison in New York return to school, and studies have shown that those who do not have a high school diploma are more likely to be unemployed and more likely to be recipients of public assistance. Further, the ability to obtain and keep employment can be difficult for those with criminal records. Addi- tionally, studies have shown that youth who were adjudicated in the criminal court system see a much lower earning potential than youth who were adjudicated in the juvenile court system. In addition to potentially improving the lives and future of New York's troubled youth, the state could also realize real cost savings in treat- ing many of those under the age of eighteen as juveniles as opposed to treating all persons sixteen and older as adults. Many states that have shifted younger persons out of criminal court and into the juvenile or family court system have seen tremendous savings due in part to the lower cost of community-based alternatives, as well as the reduced reci- divism rate of these youth. Of course, fewer victims in the future also means a safer society, and less spending on victim services. New York should adjust this aspect of its juvenile justice system to reflect the better understanding we now have of youth accused of crimes. We now know the potential that some of these youths have for redemption and the possibility to become productive members of society. This bill preserves the jurisdiction of the adult courts to try persons 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17 years old for "juvenile offender" crimes. But for less serious crimes, and for "JO" crimes that can best be handled in Family Court or in the newly created youth part, this bill brings about a necessary reform. PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2015: A.7642 advanced to third reading.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: In the 2017 budget, $110 million in capital is set aside for this purpose.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately provided however, that: Sections one through twenty-four, twenty-six through fifty-nine, sixty-one through sixty-six, sixty-eighty through seventy-six and eighty through one hundred-a shall take effect on January 1, 2019. Sections sixty-sev- en, and seventy-seven through seventy-nine of this act shall take effect sixty days after it shall have become law.
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