September 22, 2010
ATLANTA -- Luis A. Velez, a 2010 graduate of Georgia State University College of Law, recently published opinion pieces in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Florida Times-Union examining why laws that automatically transfer juvenile offenders to adult court don’t work.
In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution piece, he describes draconian provisions in SB 440, Georgia’s current juvenile justice law, and how some of these problems would be ameliorated by SB 292, a proposed revamp of SB 440.
The Florida Times-Union on August 28 published a similar piece written by Velez that discusses Angela Corey, State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Court that covers Duval County and Jacksonville, and criticized her for touting the fact that she has sent 230 juvenile felony cases to adult court within her first 18 months in office.
A variety of studies, including some conducted in Florida, Velez wrote, demonstrate that trying juveniles as adults actually contributes to higher recidivism rates among juveniles who are transferred to the adult criminal court in comparison to similar youth who are retained in the juvenile system. Youth in the adult system are more likely to be brutalized by, and learn from, hardened criminals than if they stay in the juvenile system.