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Lawmakers Address Supreme Court’s Concerns on Juvenile Transfers

Posted on in Juvenile crime

automatic transfer, new law, Schaumberg Criminal Defense LawyerAlthough a ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court last fall affirmed the constitutionality of automatic transfer of juveniles to adult court in certain cases, the state’s High Court urged legislators to review the existing process. In People v. Patterson, the Supreme Court determined that, while process in juvenile court is not a guaranteed right of a defendant, more judicial oversight and discretion would help improve effectiveness of the criminal court system. As of now, the court opined, the use of mandatory transfers fails to address the individuality of a situation, which is often necessary in juvenile cases.

House Bill 3718

In response to the urging of the Supreme Court, a measure was introduced to the Illinois House in February of 2014 designed to reduce the use of automatic transfers to adult courts for juveniles. With the help of sponsors Representative Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, and Senator Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, the bill was passed by both the House and Senate fairly easily and sent to Governor Bruce Rauner for approval earlier this summer. Governor Rauner signed the legislation in August, and the law is set to take effect on January 1, 2016.

New Limitations

The new law still permits the automatic transfer of juveniles into the adult court system, but significantly curtails its use. Only defendants who are 16 or 17 years old and charged with murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, or aggravated battery with a firearm can be processed in adult court without first going before a juvenile court judge. Ambiguities in the existing law allow juveniles as young as 13 in extreme cases to be transferred to the same criminal court system as career felons and repeat violent offenders.

All other juvenile defendants will be required to appear before a juvenile court judges for an initial hearing prior to a decision on which court will ultimately handle the case. Based on a defendant’s background, education, competency, likelihood for full rehabilitation, and the severity of the alleged crime, among other factors, the judge will have the discretion to keep the case in juvenile court or to transfer it into the adult system. Proponents of the new law estimate that automatic transfers in Cook County alone will be reduced by up to 70 percent by the measure’s implementation.

If your child has been arrested on criminal charges, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced Schaumberg criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Matthew M. Gebhardt, P.C., we are committed to helping juvenile defendants protect their rights and their future. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer who knows how to get results.






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