Raise the Age Proposal

The New York State budget continues to be negotiated but, as of yet, no agreement has been reached. There are several issues the legislature is reviewing that could potentially delay approval of the budget. One such issue is known as “Raise the Age”, which is a push to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York State from 16 to 18. Criminal defense attorney Barry Covert spoke to WGRZ about this issue and what it could mean for New York’s criminal justice system if it is approved. The full story is available on the WGRZ website.

Raising the age

In New York State, 16 and 17-year-olds who are charged with crimes automatically start in the adult justice system. According to WGRZ, in every other state except North Carolina, the age of criminal responsibility is 18 years old. Mr. Covert, a supporter of raising the age of criminal responsibility, told WGRZ that “it makes sense to treat 16 and 17-year-olds charged with non-violent offenses as though they’re youth as opposed to adults and not put them in the same system that has hardened criminals, both in courts and in jails.”

“It really seems to be common sense,” Mr. Covert went on. He told WGRZ that it costs more to treat juveniles as adults and that it can lead to higher rates of repeat crime.

Violent offenders

Mr. Covert clarified that violent offenders would still begin in the adult justice system. “We’re not talking about violent offenders,” he explained. “Violent offenders can still be treated as though they’re adults. So when you have your homicide cases, rape cases, things of that nature, they’re treated like they’re adults.”

About Barry N. Covert

Mr. Covert is a senior partner in Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area. He is known for his aggressive representation of clients in the areas of New York State and federal criminal trials and appeals; driving while intoxicated; constitutional law, including First Amendment, civil rights actions, and federal False Claims Act; defending against allegations of scientific misconduct and fraud, research misconduct and fraud, plagiarism, and fabrication of evidence; and professional licensing defense. Mr. Covert frequently provides legal analysis for WGRZ and other media outlets.