Eliminate automatic transfer of children to adult court in Illinois — April 2 2015
Commentary by Elizabeth Robb, retired chief judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit
During my 22 years as a judge, I didn’t discuss legislation being debated at the Illinois Capitol. Judges are supposed to mete out justice using the laws on the books, and we avoid involvement in debates about legislation we may later have to enforce in our courtrooms.
But now that my days on the bench are behind me, some of what I learned in and out of courtrooms may help policymakers considering legislation that would give juvenile court judges the responsibility of deciding which children charged with serious crimes should be tried in a criminal court and subject to extremely long prison sentences given to adults or which children should remain in juvenile court with an emphasis on life-changing rehabilitation.