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Articles Posted in Juvenile, Adolescent and Youthful Offender Crimes

A long time coming in the minds and hearts of many a child advocate, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the “Raise the Age” legislation into law this past April. As a result, juveniles, kids, youth, children, or simply boys and girls aged 16 and 17 will, depending on the crimes, find themselves prosecuted in New York’s Family Courts in lieu of New York’s Criminal Courts. More specifically, commencing October 1, 2018 for sixteen-year olds and October 1, 2019 for seventeen-year olds, the vast majority of arrests and criminal cases will be heard before a Family Court Judge from the inception of the criminal case or after being transferred from the “regular” or “adult” Criminal Court’s Youth Court Part.

Not a full examination of the pending change in the New York juvenile justice system, the following provides value insight that can be further examined with your New York criminal lawyer or juvenile defense attorney.

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Raise the Age legislation, codified in part in CPL Article 722, has brought New York more in line with the majority of the nation in dealing with criminal charges and accusations against certain teenagers. The legislation was also largely a compromise between law enforcement and the proponents of these kinds of sweeping laws. The result, which sought to create a system where 16 and 17 year olds could still be prosecuted as adults in certain situations, is a complex system that leaves a healthy amount of grey area for juvenile and adolescent defense lawyers, courts and District Attorneys to interpret. Much of this is due to the creation of an entirely new class of offender – the “adolescent offender.” CPL 1.20(44) defines such a person as one charged with a felony committed on or after October 1, 2018 when he or she was sixteen years of age or on or after October 1, 2019, when he or she was seventeen years of age. When a person in this classification is charged with a felony, their case first goes to an adult Criminal Court where it remains, just as it always has, or, subject to various rules on removal out of the adult criminal justice system, to Family Court. These rules depend in large part on the particular crime with which the adolescent offender is charged as well as the facts and circumstances of the underlying conduct. Other rules aside, and the subject of this blog, if and when law enforcement can establish “extraordinary circumstances” as prescribed by CPL 722.23(1)(d), prosecutors can prevent a judge from transferring an adolescent offender’s case from an adult Criminal Court to a youth oriented Family Court thereby challenging the principles of treating children different than their adult counterparts.

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