The above bill sponsored by Representative Robert Latta and 15 other Representatives passed the House on January 9, 2002, and is awaiting action in the Senate. One of the main purposes of the legislature seems to be to “clean up” H.B. 179, the juvenile sentencing bill, which passed last session.

Some of the primary provisions include:

The bill specifies that parents, guardians or other custodians of the child may inspect any court records maintained on the child and the child’s case. However, it does not require the release or authorize the inspection of arrest or incident reports, law enforcement investigatory reports or records or witness statements.

It makes specific that community control sanctions include community service as a disposition for an unruly child and community service shall not exceed one hundred seventy five hours.

This bill seems to restore some of the release from institutional care (ODYS) and discharge from supervision to the Court.

It provides that the child can waive the right to an indictment as a serious youthful offender, instead charging the child in a bill of information.

Added to the procedures for the Director of ODYS to request the prosecuting attorney to file a motion with the juvenile court to invoke the adult portion of the dispositional sentence is:

The motion shall state that there is reasonable cause to believe that either of the following occurred and shall state that at least one incident of misconduct of that nature occurred after the person reached fourteen years of age.

Another provision was added: the court may modify the adult sentence the court invokes to consist of any lesser prison term that could be imposed for the offense and in addition to the prison term or in lieu of the prison term if the prison term was not mandatory, any community control sanction that the offender was eligible to receive at sentencing.

In the following provision, if the child is adjudicated a delinquent child for committing an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, the juvenile court may commit the child to the legal custody of ODYS for secure confinement, the following was added: a commitment under this section is subject to a supervised release or to a discharge of the child from the custody of the department for medical reasons…., but during the minimum period specified by the court, the department shall obtain court approval of a supervised release or discharge.

In addition, in each case in which a court makes a disposition (under the commitment procedure) the court shall retain control over the commitment for the entire period of the commitment.

Also added, the court that commits the delinquent child may grant judicial release of the child to court supervision…, during the first half of the prescribed minimum term for which the child was committed to the department, or if the child was committed …until the child attains 21 years of age, during the first half of the prescribed period of commitment that begins on the first day of commitment and ends on the child’s 21st birthday. And, the court may grant judicial release of the child during the second half of the prescribed minimum term for which the child was committed—or if the child was committed until 21 years of age, during the second half of the prescribed period of commitment that begins on the first day of commitment and ends on the child’s 21st birthday.

The bill clarifies that a delinquent child adjudicated a delinquent for committing a sexually oriented offense includes a child who receives a serious youthful offender dispositional sentence for committing a sexually oriented offense.

Summarized by Donna Hamparian, President, Juvenile Justice Coalition, February 2002.