Rietz not opposed to new recommendation on juvenile court

Rietz not opposed to new recommendation on juvenile court

The Champaign County state's attorney said she does not disagree with a state recommendation to try all 17-year olds as juveniles.

For many years, teenagers in Illinois were charged in adult criminal court once they turned 17.  But in 2010, the Legislature changed the law and placed 17-year olds facing misdemeanor charges in juvenile court. 

Now, the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission is making the case for a change. Under the proposal, 17-year olds would be eligible for transfer to adult court for serious crimes, such as murder, sexual assault and gun crimes.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz says the split system has caused great confusion.  

Rietz also said she supports making either 17 or 18 the age when a young person becomes an adult in the eyes of the law, as along it applies to both felonies and misdemeanors for that age group.

The change in law is in the hands of the General Assembly. There's no indication on when lawmakers would consider the change.

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wayward wrote on February 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Seems fair to make it 18, since that's also the age people are allowed to vote and are generally considered adults.  I've wondered if there could be a special category for young offenders who commit serious crimes where they became eligible for release at a certain age, but could continue to be held if they seemed to be dangerous.

rsp wrote on February 27, 2013 at 6:02 pm

I've had an idea for them to be held as juveniles and based on the nature of the charge have them evaluated to see if they needed to be held longer. More of a treatment/rehabilitation model combined with punishment. But that would involve solving the problems instead of just being a jobs program for others. 

SaintClarence27 wrote on March 01, 2013 at 9:03 am

There are constitutional issues to that as well.