Wednesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

New Juvenile Justice Center Answer to Larger Load of Cases, mystateline.com

ROCKFORD – It’s just short move across Elm Street from the 4th floor of the Public Safety Building to the new Winnebago County Juvenile Justice Center.  The move is one the court system has been waiting for since they were forced to move to the PSB back in 2007.

“The old building was never suitable,” said Hon. Joseph McGraw, chief justice 17th Circuit Court.

“It was a make-do and we were told it would be for a year or two.  One year lead into another and another year and we again just had to make do.”

But making do lead to inefficiencies in juvenile court, and with nearly 3,300 pending cases before juvenile court judges, it something they simply couldn’t afford to do.

A Day in Family Court, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

NEW YORK — Daphne Culler whispered the words from the courtroom visitor’s bench, so quietly practically no one could hear.

“Just relax,” she said.

Culler, her face impassive, never broke eye contact with her daughter, who sat across the room at the witness table.

The 15-year-old, who was accused of assaulting a shop owner, mumbled each answer. Twice the judge told her to speak up. Her demeanor alternated between anxiety and annoyance at the repeated questions, a quick smile sometimes flashing across her face until the next question called her to attention.

Missouri Sentencing Law for Juveniles Draws Criticism, The Kansas City Star

JEFFERSON CITY — The Platte County prosecutor, who heads a statewide association for prosecuting attorneys, said Tuesday that lawmakers’ failure to pass a new sentencing structure for juveniles could delay or jeopardize the trials of teens accused of murder.

Under Missouri law, anyone convicted of first-degree murder is either sentenced to death or to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

However, a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2005 said death sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional, leaving life without parole as the only sentencing option for Missourians under 18 who are convicted of murder.

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