Criminal Gang Activity Moving to Juvenile Court Jurisdiction?

As the 2014 legislative session nears an end, one of the hardest fought bills is HB 1006, which will change many statutes within the traffic, juvenile, and criminal code.  Of note for juvenile advocates is the proposed modification to IC 31-30-1-4.  This is the statute that defines which cases involving sixteen and seventeen year old children will be automatically transferred to criminal court jurisdiction, sometimes called a “direct file” case.

The proposed new language would change the juvenile court jurisdiction to include children accused of criminal gang activity (IC 35-45-9-3), criminal gang intimidation (IC 35-45-9-4), and dealing or manufacturing various controlled substances (IC 35-48-4-1, IC 35-48-4-1.1, IC 35-48-4-2, IC 35-48-4-3).  Therefore, children accused of these crimes would be handled in juvenile court, unless the State files a document asking the juvenile court to consider waiving jurisdiction.  This would give more children access to rehabilitative services, rather than simple incarceration and the limited rehabilitative services in the criminal justice system.

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