Changes in the Illinois Juvenile Court Act
January 1, 2016 will bring significant changes to how juveniles charged with crimes are handled under Illinois law. Public Act 99-0258, https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/99/099-0258.htm, raises the age of juveniles from 15 to 16 who are automatically prosecuted as adults for the offenses of first degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, or aggravated battery with a firearm where the minor personally discharges the firearm. Juveniles of at least 15 years of age will no longer be automatically transferred to adult court for the offenses of armed robbery with a firearm or aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm.
The amended Juvenile Court Act provides for presumptive transfers of a minor of at least 15 who commits a forcible felony where the State’s Attorney asks a judge to transfer that minor to adult court and alleges that (1) the minor has been previously adjudicated delinquent or guilty for the commission of an act which constitutes a forcible felony and (2) that the act was committed in furtherance of criminal activity by an organized gang.
The law continues to allow transfer of minors over 13 to adult court by ruling of the court following a motion by the prosecution. The court must consider the minor’s age; any prior abuse or neglect of the minor; mental health, physical or educational history; the circumstances of the offense which include its seriousness, whether the minor is charged with directly committing the offense or by accountability, whether the offense was committed in an aggressive or premeditated manner, whether it caused serious bodily harm, whether the minor possessed a weapon; the advantages of treatment in the juvenile justice system, and whether the safety of the public necessitates sentencing as an adult.
Lori G. Levin
Attorney at Law
180 N. LaSalle, Suite 3700
Chicago, IL 60601312-767-2356