NC chief justice speaking out for ‘raise the age’

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The head of North Carolina’s court system wants to build momentum for legislation ending the practice of 16- and 17-year-olds being automatically tried for crimes as adults.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin planned to speak at a Legislative Building news conference Monday to back a “raise the age” measure that has bipartisan and law enforcement group support.

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North Carolina will be the only state in the country that automatically prosecutes teens as adults since New York legislators agreed in April to a two-year phase out of the practice.

The latest North Carolina proposal would take effect in late 2019, shifting misdemeanor and non-violent felony cases to juvenile court.

The “raise the age” effort got a boost after a blue-ribbon court commission organized by Martin recommended the change.

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