In a move that may present changes to the California Legislature, Senator Nancy Skinner (D-California) has announced a bill that would raise the age of adult prosecutions to 20 years of age within their state. Senate Bill 899 has garnered a tremendous amount of attention on social media. It could have a profound effect on Michigan legislation.
Senator Skinner has publicly stated, “When teenagers make serious mistakes and commit crimes, state prison is not the answer. Processing teenagers through the juvenile justice system will help ensure they receive the appropriate education, counseling, treatment, and rehabilitation services necessary to achieve real public safety outcomes.” When asked about this legislation and its impact on the state of Michigan, we spoke to leaders in the criminal law community to gain their insight.
Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has created a law firm that is known as the top criminal defense team in the state of Michigan. When asked about Senate Bill 899, Grabel stated, “The “Raise the Age” plan by Senator Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township) has also made strides to protect young people. The reality is that juveniles should be treated differently than their adult counterparts in the criminal justice system. The California Bill could have a profound effect on protecting our youth across the country.”
William Amadeo is a partner at McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates. Amadeo is known as one of the top criminal defense lawyers in the state of Michigan. Amadeo provided commentary when he stated, “The bill is a move in the right direction. I’ve always been frustrated by how our state’s HYTA statute requires prosecutorial approval for ages 21-23. When we see how California plans to expand its juvenile system, we can hope that Michigan will follow their lead and provide more options for juvenile defendants.”
Lane Zabawa is one of the top criminal defense lawyers in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When asked about the California Bill, Zabawa stated, “It’s clear that juveniles should be treated with more protections than adult defendants. The difference between Kent County and Eaton County on this, such as bond for youths, is shocking. Senate Bill 899 and the “Raise the Age” plan are steps in the right direction regardless of what side of the political half-circle that we stand.”
While Senate Bill 899 will provide more excellent protection for young people in California, there is the potential for widespread relief for the young in the criminal justice system. Giving young people a chance at redemption could allow young people to preserve their future and become productive members of society.