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Illinois commission advises to treat all 17 year-olds as juveniles

Posted on in Criminal Defense

LaraThe Quad City Times recently published an article stating that a juvenile justice advisory group recommended Illinois should stop automatically treating 17 year-olds who are charged with felonies as adults.

The 24-member advisory group issued its report after examining the impact of a 2010 change in state law.  Until the change of the law, anyone older than 16 was treated as an adult, and had to go through the adult court system when charged with any type of crime.

In 2010, the General Assembly came to the conclusion that 17 year-olds who were charged with misdemeanors would go through the juvenile court system, whereas 17 year-old charged with felonies would be prosecuted as adults.

Illinois is one of only 12 states with a default age for treating criminal defendants as adults before they turn 18, according to commission reports.

The Illinois commission recommended that all 17 year-olds charged with crimes should be put through juvenile court systems.  However, in the case of specific serious offenses they should be transferred to adult court.  The commission stated that this was in “the interest of fairness and public safety.”

“Instead of drawing a wise, safe, or clear distinction between minor and serious offenses, the Illinois law splitting 17 year-olds between two court systems caused confusion, and jurisdictional questions still regularly arise when 17 year-olds are arrested,” the commission said.

Group chairman George Timberlake said in a statement,  now that research demonstrates that the Illinois juvenile justice system “can manage the addition of 17 year-olds charged with felonies, it’s time to complete the reform.”

Many people are charged for different crimes every day.  If you are a minor and have been charged with a crime, or if you are responsible for a minor who has been charged with a crime, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Illinois attorney as soon as possible. Your Illinois criminal defense lawyer will understand the laws and know the best way to defend your case whether you&re charged as a juvenile or as an adult.

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