North Carolina lawmakers will not be considering laws that would amend the legal age of adult criminal responsibility to 18 this year. So far, no bill on the matter has been introduced this legislative session, and it is likely no bill will be passed, say officials, as budget cuts in Raleigh are paramount for many legislators.
Currently, any person 16 years of age or older who has committed a crime of any kind is charged as an adult in North Carolina courts. Eleven states have set the age at 17, while the other 37 states have set the age of adulthood at 18. New York is the only other state to try 16- and 17-year-olds as adults for criminal matters.
Bills pushing for the age change have died in finance committees in the last two sessions, due to the high price tag that would come with them. Adding 16- and 17-year-olds to the cases handled by the juvenile justice system would require more case workers and funding. “In this budget year, it just doesn’t seem likely that that will happen,” said Chuck Mallonee, Chief Juvenile Court Counselor of the seven westernmost counties of N.C. Mallonee is in favor of increasing the age of adulthood.