Jonathan Lipman is the Chief Judge of the State of New York. He seeks to reform our legal system with regard to the prosecution of teenagers as adults. He believes that teenagers who commit minor crimes should have these matters handled by the Family Courts and not the Criminal Courts. New York is one of only two states in the United States that try sixteen and seventeen year old as adults for minor offenses. Thousands of non violent youthful offenders should be given community service instead of being sentenced to jail as adults. When teenagers receive criminal records it has a negative impact in their fitting into society and obtaining meaningful employment in the future. Why should young lives be decimated by mistakes made as teenagers! Sometimes these teenagers are convicted before they grow into mature, reasonable adults. They should at least be given a chance to succeed.
Judge Lipman seeks to have the State Sentencing Commission submit a new bill to the State Legislature in 2012. He wants teenagers accused only of violent crimes prosecuted as adults. Teenagers who are charged with non violent crimes will have their cases handling under a pilot project in the Criminal Courts. Judge Lipman feels being more insightful with regard to the handling of cases involving teenagers in the long run is a better policy and will save large sums of money for the State’s present recidivism and eliminate unnecessary prison overcrowding.
I strongly agree with Judge Lipman’s suggestions. I hope the State Legislature will carry through with his ideas.
The Family Courts in the State of New York handle a variety of cases. They deal with orders of protection, child custody matters, juvenile cases, child abuse and child neglect cases. In addition, they deal with all types of problems involving juveniles. Both father’s rights and mother’s rights need to be protected in cases involving orders of protection in the Family Courts.