Raise the Age

How 'Raise The Age' Would Help This Teen

Jun 15, 2017

When potential employers conduct a background check on Olivia Brown, they see a 17-year-old who was cited for assault and having a weapon on school grounds – both misdemeanors from when she pepper-sprayed a girl during a fight at school last year.

What the employers won't see is a young woman who was previously homeless and still managed to graduate early from high school.

This week in state politics, a conversation about the "raise the age" bill, voter identification, and an audit detailing misuse of funds at the state's largest managed mental care organization.

Monday, May 15 2017

We discuss two important topics in the area of juvenile justice: raising the age, and due process. North Carolina is the only state where criminal justice still considers 16 and 17-year-olds adults.  As the legislature ponders a change in that law, we look back at a landmark Supreme Court Case giving juveniles due process rights on its 50th anniversary.

The chief justice of North Carolina's top court threw his support behind legislation to raise the age of juvenile offenders.

North Carolina is now the only state to automatically try 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in criminal court. But Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin says it's time for that to change.

"Our own Department of Public Safety conducted surveys on this issue which reflected that over 90 percent of parents already thought that 18 was the age for adult jurisdiction," Martin said.

During a press conference to rally support for the bill, Martin highlighted that North Carolina is the only state that has not upped the age limit to try defendants as adults. He said that teenage mistakes can follow North Carolinians into their adulthood as they seek employment. In other states, an error in judgment made by a 17-year-old would have a smaller impact on his ability to find employment later in life.

Raisetheagenc.org

The push to ‘Raise The Age’ of juvenile jurisdiction from 16 to 18 has been a long-fought battle in North Carolina.  Support for that change is growing this year, on both sides of the aisle, but it has some in Western North Carolina wary. 

North Carolina’s current law, passed in 1919, says that anyone charged with any crime whatsoever, will be tried as an adult starting at age 16.  New York is the only other state with such a law.  Critics in the Tar Heel State call this obsolete and counterproductive. 

Second of two stories. Click here for the first.

North Carolina is one of just two states that automatically charges 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system. But in several counties, the court system is working with local law enforcement to give would-be young offenders a second chance.

First of two stories. Click here for the second.

When you turn 16 in North Carolina, you still can't vote, or drive on your own at night. You can't buy cigarettes or alcohol, or get a tattoo. But you can be charged, tried and convicted as an adult in the criminal justice system.