Senate Panel Backs Changing How Teens are Charged as Adults

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Denver (AP) Judges would be able to review prosecutors' decisions to charge juveniles as adults under a bill backed the senate judiciary committee today.

District attorneys strongly oppose the measure (House Bill 1208) and the panel agreed to undo one change in the system backed the house. The aim is to try to get the support of Governor Ritter, the former district attorney for Denver.

Unlike the house version, the senate version would still allow district attorneys to charge 14 and 15 year olds as adults.

Under the bill, district attorneys could still file adult charges against juveniles age 14 in regular court but defense lawyers could request a hearing to review the decision. The defense would have the burden of convincing a judge that that case would be better handled in the juvenile system.

Democratic senator Brandon Shaffer says he supports DA's and thinks that the current system works about 95 percent of the time. but he says there should be a way to appeal possible abuses.

The bill will next be considered by the appropriations committee.