Virginia Amends Juvenile Transfer Law

From the Campaign 4 Youth Justice Organization, a group dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing and incarcerating children under 18 in the adult criminal justice system:

The Virginia legislature recently passed a bill by Delegate Dave Marsden (D-Fairfax) that amends Virginia's "once an adult, always an adult" law so that it is applied more fairly to youth.

Previously, merely transferring a youth to adult court was enough to trigger the "once an adult, always an adult" law. This meant that youth transferred to the adult system were treated as an adult in all future proceedings, no matter how minor the charge, even if they were acquitted or had their case dismissed.

Delegate Marsden's bill,HB 3007, requires that youth must be convicted of an offense when they are transferred to adult court in order to be tried in adult court for all future offenses. It has been passed by both houses of the legislature.

According to a February, 2007 Zogby poll, Americans strongly favor rehabilitation and treatment for juvenile offenders over prosecution in the adult court or incarceration in adult jails or prisons.

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