Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Editorials

February 11, 2012

Excellent idea

Legislator seeks a tack force to study juvenile justice

ASHLAND — State Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, wants to do for Kentucky’s juvenile code what he was instrumental in helping do for the state’s criminal code. It’s an excellent idea.

Tilley, an attorney who is chairman of the judiciary committee in the Kentucky House of Representatives,  wants to establish a task force to study the juvenile code. That was the first step toward the 2011 General Assembly’s approval  of a bill reforming the criminal code that we believe is the most important single piece of legislation since the 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act.

The task force on the criminal code involved prosecutors, defense attorneys, prison officials, legislative leaders, legal scholars and ordinary citizens who took their jobs seriously, were wiling to make compromises and were able to come up with a bill that all could support. It was approved by wide margins in both the House and the Senate during a legislative session in which little else was accomplished.

Tilley said change — “something that ranges from a tune-up to an overhaul”  — also is needed in the juvenile code, and he thinks a similar task force can accomplish it. He has introduced a resolution that would open a study of establishing an age of criminal responsibility and whether to modify how certain offenses and offenders are treated.

Under the juvenile code some “status offenders” who aren’t guilty of a crime but may be runaways  or truants can be locked up in juvenile detention. Top state juvenile justice and court officials have said that too many children younger than 11 are brought before judges in court. “Status offenders” also are treated much differently from county to county. More consistency is needed throughout the state.

Because juvenile cases for the most part are closed to the public, less is known about how juveniles are handled, but enough is known to realize that judges  differ on how they handle juvenile cases.

Tilley is not proposing any changes. He simply wants to study the issue. While creating a task force sometimes is a cop out for elected officials fearful of making a decision, in this case, study is needed. Seeking the advice and input of experts who regularly deal with juveniles is a great way to come up with meaningful changes in the status quo.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • By a thread

    It took some last-minute political maneuvering by State Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore and some skilled wheeling and dealing to prevent a bill important to AK Steel in Ashland from ending up on the scrapheap of the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly.

    April 23, 2014

  • Along the river

    Here’s hoping the weather will be as close to perfect as possible on the evening of May 30, as members of the Paul G. Blazer High School class of 2014 gather on the banks of Ohio River for the school’s first graduation on the river that has helped fuel this community’s economy since the time when it was known as known as Poage’s Landing.

    April 22, 2014

  • Good opportunity

    Morehead State University is using a highly successful program for outstanding high school juniors and seniors at Western Kentucky University to launch a similar program beginning in the fall of 2015 on the MSU campus.

    April 20, 2014

  • What's next?

    While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO‚Äąregion with its own electrical company.
     

    April 13, 2014

  • 'Waited too long'

    Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 straight months in combat.

    April 12, 2014

  • Enact HB 3

    The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is under way hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky in Orlando, Fla., but the three-day conference which runs through Thursday, was organized by Operation UNITE, the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group that knows all too well the devastating impact the prescription drug epidemic continues to have on this region.

    April 11, 2014

  • State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer

    Kentucky’s war against the tiny emerald ash borer responsible for already killing more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States has ended in surrender — by state officials, not the tiny insect.

    April 8, 2014

  • Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues

    The steady demise of the once thriving clothing industry in small Kentucky towns continues with the latest factory to announce it is shutting down being one of the largest: Fruit of the Loom has announced it is closing its last remaining plant in Jamestown, a move that eventually will see the elimination of more than 600 jobs in the small town near Lake Cumberland.

    April 7, 2014

  • None on ballot

    The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly considered an unusually high number of proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution on such issues as casino gambling, the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and the elimination of state and local elected offices.

    April 4, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014