State Senator John A. Kissel Skeptical of New Second Chance Proposal

March 23, 2016

Hartford-State Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield), the Ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee released the following statement expressing doubts regarding Senate Bill 18. The bill would, among other things, place 18-20 year olds on trial for certain crimes into the juvenile court system where they would be shielded from the media during the proceedings.

“The governor’s goal to reduce crime is laudable,” said Senator Kissel. “However, I am afraid that he is letting the ends justify the means.”

Governor Malloy’s Chief Legal Counsel Karen Buffkin and Undersecretary for Criminal Justice Michael Lawlor testified in favor of the bill. According to them, people who are subject to media coverage during criminal proceedings are more likely to return to a life of crime.

“We want to give young people the opportunity not to ruin their lives after mistakes, but we should not sacrifice the freedom of the press by closing the courts with a shroud of secrecy,” said Senator Kissel.

“18-20 year olds can vote, drive, and go to war. Putting them into the juvenile justice system for certain crimes seems like an overreach,” said Senator Kissel.

“Connecticut recently updated its laws so that 16 and 17 year olds would not be tried as adults,” said Senator Kissel. “That move made sense since the state had been an outlier for being too strict on juveniles. But this bill would make Connecticut the outlier again by treating people who are legally adults for almost everything else, as juveniles in court.”