Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; Exploding Myths on Juvenile Justice

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; Exploding Myths on Juvenile Justice

Article excerpt

Byline: Angela Corey

As State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit, my sworn duty is to seek justice while protecting this community.

I have to make tough decisions and sometimes those decisions are unpopular. However, I assure the readers that each case is carefully reviewed.

Recently, the State Attorney's Office has been a target of agenda-driven individuals who ignore the truth and have repeatedly spread myths about our office's prosecution of juveniles.

Here's the truth behind some of the myths readers may have heard.

Myth: The State Attorney's Office leads the state/country in sending juveniles to adult court.

Fact: We are ninth in the state out of 20 circuits. Of the approximately 3,000 juvenile cases opened in fiscal year 2013-14, 75 were moved to adult court. These cases were serious and violent including murder, armed robbery, home invasion robbery, carjacking, sexual battery and burglary.

What readers may not realize is that in other states like New York, 16- and 17-year-olds automatically are sent to adult court for misdemeanors and felonies.

Myth: The State Attorney's Office charges every juvenile who commits a crime.

Fact: The State Attorney's Office diverts hundreds of juveniles each year into programs which provide services - drug treatment, counseling, anger management and parenting classes - instead of court.

Last year, over 900 juveniles were sent to a diversion program. If the program is completed, the charges are dropped and we provide guidance to the juvenile on how to expunge their record.

Since 2009, I have spent millions ($1.2 million in fiscal year 2015) to provide diversion programs for juveniles and adults.

Many other State Attorney's Offices around the state do not offer diversion programs, but we choose to spend our budget dollars on these efforts to rehabilitate kids.

Myth: The State Attorney's Office prosecutes based on race.

Fact: Race is never a factor for victims or defendants. …

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