Sena⁠t⁠e Comm⁠i⁠⁠t⁠⁠t⁠ee Approves Res⁠t⁠r⁠i⁠c⁠t⁠⁠i⁠ons On When K⁠i⁠ds Can Be Charged As Adul⁠t⁠s

By: Guest Author / February 12, 2016


February 12, 2016

Senate Committee Approves Restrictions On When Kids Can Be Charged As Adults
By Lynn Hatter

The Florida Senate’s Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee has cleared a number of bills related to juvenile justice reform. One proposal changes how and when juveniles can be charged as adults.

Senate bill 314 put caps on the number of so-called “direct file” cases prosecutors can send to adult court. Judges could still determine other cases where a child is tried as an adult. Prosecutors argue the move takes away a major crime deterrent, but supporters of change like First Judicial Circuit Judge Terry Ketchel says the move could lead to a drop in recidivism:

“Non-violent cases, the data shows, is that there is greater recidivism and more violent cases when these non-violent cases are dealt with in adult courts. And therefore, we’d urge that the discretion lies in the juvenile courts.”

Ketchel serves on a Florida Supreme Court Steering Committee, and believes decisions on whether to charge kids as adults should be handled in juvenile and family courts.

Juvenile Justice reform is a priority of the committee Chairman, Joe Negron. He’ll be the next Senate President and has argued against what he calls criminalizing childhood.