The juvenile justice system has always functioned differently than the adult criminal justice system — and for good reason. Since the creation of the first juvenile justice court in Illinois at the end of the 19th century, it has been known that youth who come into contact with the criminal justice system have different needs than adults who find themselves in trouble. All states have a separate criminal justice system for juveniles, though in recent years, an increased focus has been placed on reducing the number of juveniles who come into contact with the criminal justice system. In an effort to follow suit, Connecticut recently passed a law to make certain juvenile trials are more private.
Reduced Charges Can Be Transferred Back to Juvenile Court
The new law, Public Act 19-187, changes quite a few things concerning the juvenile justice system. Existing laws state that the juvenile court is required to automatically transfer a case involving a child who is at least 15 years old to adult court if the case involves murder, a Class A felony or certain Class B felonies. If a juvenile is charged with any other type of felony, it is up to the court’s discretion to transfer the case or not.
The Act allows a case that was transferred to adult court to be transferred back to juvenile court if the charges were reduced to charges that would have been discretionary. Before the transfer can take place, however, it must be proven that the transfer was done for a good reason, and the transfer must be completed before the defendant pleads guilty.
Trials for the Most Serious Felonies Will Be Closed
Most notably, the act also states that trials and documents for 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds will now be closed to the public if the crime was a serious felony such as murder, sexual assault, or armed robbery. The Act states that a case transferred from juvenile court to adult court is to be kept confidential when it comes to both the trial and the documents pertaining to the case. The trial shall be conducted separately and apart from parts of the court that are used to conduct adult trials. The same confidentiality laws that apply to juvenile cases will now also be used with cases involving juveniles tried as adults until and unless a guilty plea or verdict is entered.
A Hartford, CT Juvenile Crime Defense Lawyer Can Help
The new laws passed in Connecticut are meant to protect juveniles when they have gotten themselves into legal trouble. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we understand that kids often do not think through their actions. Mistakes happen, and our skilled Connecticut juvenile crime defense attorney understands how to ensure that the consequences of these mistakes do not have a permanent impact on a child’s life. If your child has been charged with a crime, you need our help. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.