Assemblyman Angelo Morinello, R-C-Niagara Falls, joined Assembly members, senators and district attorneys from across the state to call for an amendment to the “Raise the Age” law, which went into effect in 2018, increasing the age for youth who can be prosecuted as an adult to from 16 to 18 years of age.
Morinello’s team shared, “ ‘RTA’ allows 16- and 17- year-old adolescent offenders who commit serious felonies to escape criminal liability by being transferred to family court, where records remain sealed even after they are of legal age, thereby preventing youth offenders from receiving proper punishment in criminal court.”
The lawmakers want to add language to “RTA” that defines “aggravating” circumstances in the instance of a violent felony charge, which include:
√ The defendant caused serious physical injury or death to a person other than a participant in the offense;
√ The defendant displayed what appears to be a firearm, shotgun, rifle or deadly weapon as defined in the penal law in furtherance of such offense;
√ The defendant possessed a firearm or a weapon; or
√ The defendant committed a sexual offense.
“By no means should we continue down the path that ‘RTA’ allowed for adolescents in our state,” Morinello said. “Consequences to serious, violent crimes must be addressed, so we do not continue to allow repeat offenders out on the streets risking public safety. ‘RTA’ opened the door for violent gangs to use adolescents to carry out their crimes, because they know, in the end, the teen will not be charged. This is a recurring issue across the state that must be fixed. We need to keep our children safe and control public safety once again. We have to teach our youth they must be responsible for the consequences of their actions.”