Changes to Criminal Justice Called "Personal"

Hands in handcuffs, close-up

Democrats in the State Assembly are expected to take up and pass today one of Gov. Cuomo's top legislative priorities, a 12-bill package to re-do parts of New York's criminal justice system, which includes raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18.

Right now, only New York and North Carolina routinely prosecute 16 and 17-year-old offenders as adults, and backers say they want to see those cases handled by Family Courts.

The Assembly has approved several of these bills in past sessions, but they have yet to clear the State Senate.  In fact, supporters are taking issue with Republicans who say the legislation is "anti-police." Brooklyn Democrat Joe Lentol says far from it.  The idea, he says, is to improve the criminal justice system and make it better for everyone. 

Speaker Carl Heastie says these bills are not only a top priority, but are "personal" to him. He says his tenure as speaker will be "in vain" if they're not approved and signed into law by the governor.

photo:  Getty Images

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