Gov. Brown Gets It….

Gov. Brown’s proposed ballot initiative (LA Times Article) gets one thing very right. It would remove from prosecutors the discretion to charge juveniles as adults, and give it to judges. The decision to charge a juvenile as an adult is one of the most consequential decisions in the world of juvenile justice, with the power to effectively (and summarily) end the childhood of any juvenile, sometimes forever, and to shift the balance in a juvenile offender’s case  dramatically towards a plea bargain because of the level of risk. The decision should be made by the kind of impartial, factual evaluation that only a judge can make, not by a party with a vested interest in the outcome of the case, and one eye on the political calculus that comes with partisan political office.

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