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During Wednesday nights Ways and Means committee meeting the County Attorney forewarned County Legislators about a bill that has been proposed in the State that would change the laws for prosecuting 16 and 17 year olds who commit non-violent crimes.

Two proposals that are on the table, one from the Assembly and the other from the Court of Appeals.

Both agree that 16 and 17 year olds who crimes such as petit larceny or criminal mischief should be tried as juveniles.

The Court of Appeals proposal would create a whole new youth court to deal with the two age groups and they would be prosecuted in front of the District Attorney.

In the current law if those that are 16 and 17 commit a non-violent crime they are tried as an adult.

County Attorney Charles Zambito said with the bill comes a huge fiscal responsibility for the County, because neither of the bills say that the State will contribute financially.

“The problem that I have with it is that it’s another example of an unfunded mandate. It’s an idea they have and then they implement it and they don’t consider the real cost of doing that. If they’re willing to pay for it them fine,” said Zambito.

Deputy County Attorney Durin Rogers said the push comes after studies show the teenage brain is not as developed as an adults.

New York and North Carolina are the only States in the Country that still try 16 and 17 year olds as adults.

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