More Youths to Be Tried in Family Court on Long Island
Raise the Age Legislation in New York
On April 10, 2017, Governor Cuomo signed into law “Raise the Age” legislation, which raises the presumptive age of juvenile accountability. What this means is that, where in the past 16 year olds were tried as adults in criminal court, 16 and 17 year olds will now be treated as juveniles. 16 year olds will begin to be treated as juveniles in October of this year, and 17 year olds will follow suit one year later. Until Governor Cuomo signed Raise the Age into law, New York was one of two states (North Carolina being the other hold-out) to treat 16 and 17 year olds as adults in the criminal justice system.
Adolescent Offenders for 16 & 17 Year Olds
The phrase “adolescent offenders,” or AOs, was coined by the legislature to label certain 16 and 17 year old offenders. AOs are individuals of that age who commit a felony-level crime. Their cases are heard in the Youth Part of Criminal Court and, if necessary, will be housed in newly created specialized secure detention facilities for older youth offenders.
Parental Notifications Required
An important component of this legislation is the parental notification provision. This states that parents of 16 and 17 year olds must be notified when their children are arrested. Additionally, any questioning of the alleged youth offender must occur in age-appropriate settings, with parental involvement.
Family Court vs. Youth Part, Criminal Court
According to New York legislation, all misdemeanor cases other than vehicle and traffic law misdemeanors will be heard in Family Court. All felony cases will start in the Youth Part of the adult criminal court.
Notwithstanding, under the statutory scheme, all non-violent felonies will be transferred from the Youth Part to Family Court. However, if the District Attorney files a motion within 30 days showing “extraordinary circumstances,” as to why the case should remain in the Youth Part, there can be a hearing. The Judge then has five days of the hearing or motions to decide whether to prevent the transfer of the case to Family Court.
Violent felonies may be transferred to Family Court, but only upon meeting a three-part test. In order to be transferred, the charges must not include:
#1. Being accused of displaying a deadly weapon in furtherance of the offense
#2. Causing significant physical injury
#3. Engaging in unlawful sexual conduct
If the charges meet the three-prong test, the case may be transferred to Family Court. However, the District Attorney may make the same motion as discussed above to prevent removal.
Special Facilities for 16 & 17 Year Olds
This legislation also demands that new facilities be maintained for 16 and 17 year old offenders. It states that 16 and 17 year olds will no longer be housed in adult facilities, but rather will be housed in specific youth facilities. Adolescent offenders who are detained pre-trial will be held in a specialized secure juvenile detention center for older youth. AOs who are sentenced to state imprisonment will be placed in an Adolescent Offender facility developed by the state with enhanced security.
Need Help in Family Court on Long Island? Contact Our Long Island Family Law Firm
To learn more about what you need to know about Family Law Courts on Long Island and how to get help to protect yourself and your future, visit this page: https://divorce-longisland.com/what-cases-family-law/ If you are seeking assistance in Family Court or the Youth Part of Criminal Court, we can help. Contact our Long Island Family Law firm at 631-629-2545 to set up your free consultation.
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