Juveniles; trial as adult. (SB1263)

Introduced By

Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Springfield)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Juveniles; trial as adult. Increases the minimum age that a juvenile can be tried as an adult in circuit court for a felony from 14 years of age to 16 years of age. The bill allows juveniles 14 years of age or older to be tried as an adult for capital murder or first-degree murder or for rape, forcible sodomy, or object sexual penetration when such conviction requires a mandatory minimum term of confinement of 25 years. Amends § 16.1-228, § 16.1-249, § 16.1-269.1, § 16.1-269.3, § 16.1-270, § 16.1-284.1, § 16.1-285.1, § 16.1-299.1, § 16.1-301, § 16.1-302, § 16.1-305, § 16.1-307, § 16.1-309.1, § 18.2-308.2, § 18.2-308.2:2, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Status

01/06/2019: Awaiting a Vote in the Courts of Justice Committee

History

DateAction
01/06/2019Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/19 19102938D
01/06/2019Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice

Comments

Mary D. Devoy writes:

Kids are not tiny adults and Virginia needs to stop trying and sentencing them as such.

None of us today are the same person we were at the age of 14 and 15 years old.

Senator Saslaw's SB1263 proposes to raise the age from 14 to 16 to be tried as an adult, is a good proposal but he intentional excludes 5 crimes.

Why? Because they are the 5 most difficult crimes to consider.
A. Capital murder
B. 1st degree murder - Has a prison sentence range of 5 to 40 years in a state with no parole.
C. Rape - (remember VA does not have statutory rape)-Is a Mandatory Minimum prison sentence of 5 years, 25 years or life in prison in a state with no parole.
D. Forcible Sodomy - (remember in VA sodomy includes oral sex)- Is a Mandatory Minimum prison sentence of either 25 years or life in prison in a state with no parole.
E. Object Sexual Penetration - (actual penetration is NOT required)- Is a Mandatory Minimum prison sentence of 5 years, 25 years or life in prison in a state with no parole.

Out of the 5 crimes Senator Saslaw excludes, 3 of them are sex crimes and that’s why it caught my attention.

No 14 or 15-year-old should be tried as an adult for ANY crime including these 5.

Just like no juvenile should be publicly labeled a Sex Offender.

No 14 or 15-year-old should face a Mandatory Minimum sentence that ties the judge’s hands to sentence based on the facts of the case but these 5 crimes have M.M.’s.

I get it. Senator Saslaw wants to help some juveniles, so to have a better shot at success sacrificing the hard-sells, the most despised avoids tough conversations.

Well I can tell you doing what is right, what is smart is always the more difficult path.

I like SB1263, it makes sense, it’s based on facts and decades of research but excluding those 5 crimes makes zero sense and is NOT supported by the facts.

I hope a real discussion about raising the age to 16 for ALL crimes actually occurs in Senate Committee and on the chamber floor. No kids should automatically be disposable but that’s what these 5 exclusions mean.

If the Senate has some difficult conversations about this and an amendment to expand the group doesn’t occur at least they considered the facts instead of siding with fear and hate.

But you never know maybe an amendment to include all 14 and 15 years come out of the tough discussion, but first they have to try.

Come on Virginia Senators, consider upping the age for all Virginia's kids to 16.

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