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.
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UMFS has urgent need for foster parents


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VSP issues warning about automated traffic ticket email scam

Virginia State Police officials are warning Virginians about an email scam that tells people they are receiving an “automated traffic ticket” from the agency. State Police do not use or issue digital or automated traffic tickets or summonses, however. Anyone receiving such an email should delete it and not click on any links provided in the email, police said. > Read more.

READ Center offers free classes, training to low-literate people


One in six adults in Metro Richmond has literacy issues, and the READ Center in Henrico County is working to address the issue.

Next week – Sept. 24-30 – is Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, a time during which the READ Center is shining a light on its efforts to help some of the 35,000 adults in the region for whom reading, writing and basic math remain an elusive target. > Read more.

Play Day RVA planned for Sept. 21


The Richmond region will celebrate Play Day RVA Thursday, Sept. 21, with activities throughout the area to celebrate the opportunities that exist to play in the community. Dozens of employers, local governments, schools and community organizations will participate by hosting events that integrate playful activities into daily life and spread awareness of the value of active living. > Read more.

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September 2017
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The Varina High School PTSA Community Day will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school, 7053 Messer Rd. There will be vendors, water gun paint art, information tables, a STEAM station and alumni posters, as well as rock painting with RVA Rocks for $1 and face painting for $1. Vendor tables are $15 each. To reserve a table, contact Mattie Jones at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Anna Meeks at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Admission is free but donations are accepted. Full text

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