April 18th, 2012
Nassau County, Long Island, now has a new pilot program designed to help 16 and 17 year olds charged with a crime avoid going to jail. Nassau County is one of nine counties throughout New York State to have a specific court designed to hear cases involving 16 and 17 year olds who previously have been treated as adults subject to criminal prosecution in the criminal courts in New York.
Jonathan Lipman, the Chief Judge in the State of New York, brought about this initiative because he feels teenagers charged with certain crimes should not be charged as adults within the criminal justice system in the State of New York.
Criminal Prosecution of Minors In New York
New York is the only state in the country that currently prosecutes non-violent 16 and 17 year old as adults within its criminal justice system. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice recently made the following statement with regard to this pilot court program “we’re prepared to show the rest of the state that this approach is the best way to rehabilitate young offenders, save tax payer money and protect the public.”
How This New Program Works
Sixteen and seventeen year olds who are charged with non-violent criminal offenses are initially screened by case workers from the Nassau County Department of Probation. If they are found to be at low risk of committing crimes in the future their case can be dismissed. If they are found to be high risk of committing crimes in the future, they are put through an extensive screening process and both the lawyers and the judge look for a solution that will solve the teenagers underlying problems and protect the public. The purpose of the teenager court is to find an alternative to sentencing teenagers to jail. Teenagers convicted as adults in the criminal courts receive permanent criminal records which can affect the rest of their lives.
A statistical analysis of the records of teenage boys and girls who have an initial contact with the criminal justice system finds that more than 80% of them will be rearrested by the time they are 28 years old. It is hoped teenagers who make bad judgment calls will be given the opportunity to have a second chance, a clean record and be able to get out of the criminal justice system.
Juveniles charged with crimes in New York can be prosecuted in either Family Court, Criminal Court or now the Teenager Special Court. The Law Offices of Elliot Schlissel and their dedicated attorneys, for more than 30 years, have represented men and women charged with large varieties of criminal offenses. Our office has extensive experience representing individuals charged with computer and internet crimes, traffic tickets, white collar crimes, sex crimes, weapons possession, driving while intoxicated (DWI/DUI), shoplifting, burglary, assault and battery, domestic violence, drug offenses and other misdemeanors and felonies. Contact us for a free consultation.