Missouri lawmaker proposes raising adult crimes age
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — A Missouri representative has proposed a bill requiring raising the age of people tried in court as adults to 18 years.
The Southeast Missourian reports that Republican state Rep. Wayne Wallingford's proposed measure would require anyone under the age of 18 to be prosecuted in juvenile courts, with the exception of 16- or 17-year-olds who have been certified as adults.
Missouri is one of seven states that automatically prosecute 17-year-old defendants as adults. Under current law, juveniles between 12 and 17 years old who have been charged with a felony can also be tried as an adult.
Wallingford says that dealing with those teenagers in juvenile court lessens the chance for them to be re-offenders.
But two Southeast Missouri juvenile officers said the bill doesn't include additional state funding to hire more juvenile officers.