Juveniles may be tried as adults for drug crimes
A measure authorizing prosecutors to charge repeat juvenile offenders as adults for drug-related crimes passed the Senate on a 26-14 vote Thursday.
House Bill 718, sponsored by Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, would enable commonwealth’s attorneys to transfer jurisdiction of juveniles 14 or older to the circuit courts if the youth is charged with a third felony offense of distributing, selling or manufacturing an illegal substance.
“There’s a big concern in some areas of the state where kids are selling and they are getting the juvenile punishment ... and get right back out on the street,” Kilgore said.
“So this is one way that we can protect the public and the children, other children, from this type of situation.”
Liane Rozzell, executive director of Families and Allies of Virginia’s Youth, an organization that advocates on behalf of young people involved in the justice system, disagrees with the measure.
“We believe that those decisions need to be left up to the juvenile court judge who has all the information and can make a reasonable decision,” she said.
The House of Delegates had passed HB 718 on a 79-21 vote on Feb. 14. At that point, the legislation covered not only drug crimes but also gang-related crimes.
The Senate revised the bill, restricting it to drug-related offenses. As a result, the bill now must go back to the House for consideration. Virginia law currently allows authorities to charge youths 14 and older as adults for violent crimes, carjacking and robbery. In addition, juveniles convicted as adults through the circuit courts are defined as adults in subsequent criminal acts.
How They Voted
Here is how the Senate voted Thursday on “HB 718 Juveniles; trial as adults.”
Floor: 03/01/12 Senate: Passed Senate with substitute with amendments (26-Y 14-N)
YEAS – Barker, Black, Blevins, Carrico, Garrett, Hanger, Martin, McDougle, McWaters, Miller, J.C., Newman, Norment, Northam, Obenshain, Petersen, Puckett, Reeves, Ruff, Saslaw, Smith, Stanley, Stosch, Stuart, Vogel, Wagner, Watkins – 26.
NAYS – Colgan, Deeds, Ebbin, Edwards, Favola, Herring, Howell, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, Marsh, McEachin, Miller, Y.B., Puller – 14.
Henrico County Recreation and Parks will present “Red, White, and Lights” at Meadow Farm Museum/Crump Park July 4.
Henrico County has hosted a Fourth of July celebration annually since 1981, but this year’s event will offer a later start time and expanded hours and be highlighted by new entertainment.
The free event will begin at 4:30 p.m. and will feature the Richmond Symphony, a laser-light show, patriotic performances, and family activities. > Read more.
The Tuckahoe Family YMCA and ReEstablish Richmond will host the third-annual Refugee Community Resource Fair Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to noon at the YMCA, 9211 Patterson Avenue in Henrico. The event is designed to provide refugees in the region information about jobs, local businesses, housing, health care, education and more.
As part of its strategic plan, the YMCA of Greater Richmond works to identify, address and eliminate economic, geographic and cultural barriers. > Read more.
For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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