Before I continue with Part II here are two corrections of last week’s Part I column.
The first is that 17 year olds have been considered to be adults in criminal prosecutions since 1912 (not 1988) and second there are 18 bills that have been sent to the governor (not 16). I apologize for the errors.
With that having been said the following is a brief summary of what the bills provide.
An “Adult” for criminal prosecutions and other related matters will now be defined as a person who is at least 18 years old.
This means that in criminal cases, 17 year olds are juveniles and unless they are charged as adults, will be under the jurisdiction of the Family Division of Circuit Court.
Under existing law, if a juvenile is found guilty of a crime it is not considered to be a “conviction” but is instead called an “adjudication” with juvenile sentencing.
The law prohibiting juveniles from being held in the same facility as adults will now apply to 17 year olds and when they are in custody will be held in separate facilities subject to a limited exception.
Because the bills add to the number of juveniles in the court system with a resulting increase in costs there is a new “Raise the Age Fund,” which will be used to reimburse counties for the extra expenditures.
There is a law called the Youthful Trainee Act, which allows young defendants to plead guilty on a deferred basis to certain offenses committed when they were 17 to 23 years old. If they then comply with certain conditions, the case is dismissed and there is a nonpublic record.
The law will be amended to make the lowest age 18 with 17 year olds being eligible for a different type of deferral.
The age for adult sentences will be raised to 18 for violations of Personal Protection Orders. Seventeen year olds will be subject to juvenile contempt of court sentences.
Age eligibility for appointed counsel will be changed to reflect the new definition of an adult.
Those are the main highlights. Additional details are available at the Michigan Legislature’s website at www.mich.gov.
If the bills are signed they will take effect Oct. 1, 2021.