Chief justice endorses ‘raise the age’

RALEIGH – North Carolina Chief Justice Mark Martin says it’s time for the state to stop automatically prosecuting 16- and 17-year-olds as adults because young people are being stigmatized with public criminal records for even small mistakes.

Martin came to the Legislative Building on Monday with other proponents of “raise the age” legislation to speak for its passage.

North Carolina will soon be the only state nationwide that prosecutes teens as young as 16 in adult court now that New York legislators have agreed to phase out the practice.

Martin says young adults from North Carolina in fleeting trouble with the law in high school are at a disadvantage with young people from other states for employment. The record of the out-of-state adult is confidential because the case remained in juvenile court.