Name Young Adult Arrestees?

Lucy Gellman PhotoGov. Dannel P. Malloy’s new proposed criminal justice package provides a no-money bail stipulation for those accused of misdemeanors except in cases of violent crimes or when a judge decides otherwise. It also creates a new “young adults” category in which cases would remain confidential.

Malloy’s proposal to extend “juvenile” status for arrestees up to age 21 did not go over well in the legislature last year, so he pared it back this year. This year’s version defines young adult offenders as those ages 18 through 20 who are accused of committing all but the most serious crimes. They would fall under a hybrid setting, sitting in both the juvenile justice system and the adult system: Their criminal records would remain sealed but their court cases would be open—if you can find them. 

Mike Lawlor, the governor’s undersecretary for criminal justice policy and former co-chair of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, explained how the governor’s criminal justice legislative efforts were tweaked this year during an appearance on WNHH radio’s “Legal Eagle” program.

Lawlor was asked how reporters or others would be able to follow a case in Superior Court if the case is not listed on a public court docket because these arrests are sealed. He observed that the courts are open to the public. Asked how anyone would be able to locate a court hearing for an anonymous defendant, Lawlor did not say.

This year, Lawlor said, “we separated the two issues,” in part because each one is complicated and difficult. The idea of treating young adults up to the age of 21 as juveniles with regard to certain crimes had raised eyebrows among state legislators last year.

So this year the governor proposed reducing the age to 20 and decided to open the court proceedings while at the same time allowing young defendants to hide their criminal records from public examination. The governor believes that young men and women should not be defined by actions created by immature adolescent brains, Lawlor said. Early criminal activity and convictions have kept adolescents from getting jobs and housing.

Connecticut had previously raised the age for adult prosecution to 18. This proposed legislation extends it to 20. Lawlor said arrests have plummeted as these types of cases are decided in juvenile courts. Prison costs have been greatly reduced and the crime rate in Connecticut has continued to decline.   

Update on Bail  

A year ago the governor asked the state’s Sentencing Commission to recommend changes in the bail system. Lawlor said a number of states have changed bail rules when it comes to misdemeanors.

“The Sentencing Commission, which consists of criminal justice experts from all parts of the criminal justice system, is on board for bail reform,” Lawlor said.  “And our juvenile bill, if adopted would make us the first state in the country to treat 18-20 year olds as juveniles.” This bill does not apply to serious felonies.

Lawlor said the Sentencing Commission consensus is to de-emphasize money bail for misdemeanors. “Courts are starting to rule it is unconstitutional to hold people in jail because they can’t afford bail,” he added. 

“A lot of people are sitting in jail for relatively low-level crimes. On any given day there may be people charged with nuisance crimes. Many are mentally ill. These are minor cases. A day in jail costs about $168. These are people with high needs who are low risk. Their health needs are considerable.

“If they are in jail, they lose their jobs, their housing, even if it is only for three days. Then the risk of committing crimes goes up.”

Click on or download the above audio file to listen to the full WNHH radio interview, which includes a discussion about President Trump’s immigration policies and their impact on state and local police.

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posted by: Dialectics on March 15, 2017  2:21pm

Mr Lawlor and Governor Malloy are covering up the crime rate. Making adults juveniles up to 21 will remove their names from dockets, will prevent the public and media from following cases. These cases will not be open to the public. That is why Lawlor could not answer how one follows a case!! Wake up this is a Malloy/Lawlor move to paper reduce crime. The reason juvenile crime is alleged to have dropped is because there is no way to collect data on these juveniles. Lawlor/Malloy has also increased the juvenile age gradually from 15 to the present age up to 18.
If adult crimes are no longer in adult court and are covered by juvenile privacy then Malloy/Lawlor can easily claim that the total adult crime rate was reduced.
The Family w/Service Needs law to assist juveniles and families was so watered down and unenforceable that police and courts have greatly reduced their application. Yet Malloy/Lawlor claim major reduction of these services and juveniles involved in Fw/SN incidents.
This and many other legislation is a cover by a Governor who has depraved this State with taxes, deceits, loss of jobs, and attempts to tax everyone & everything.
Didn’t Malloy reduce funding for mental illness, special needs and other social services. Yet he uses this topic to support his questionable criminal justice manipulations.
Now we have a proposed law by a legislator to have all people who die automatically donate their body organs UNLESS they opt out. This State can not handle all the present regulations. You expect them to handle an opt out one.  Elderly, poor, and that that matter the entire Connecticut population will not be aware of this opt out law. What an invasion.Big government again enters our PRIVATE lives.
Don’t we have larger problems in this State that our legislators should be addressing.