Legislative Spotlight: Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021 (DC Council)
On Thursday, the DC Council’s Committee on the Judiciary & Public Safety will hold a Public Hearing on B24-0338, the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021. Currently, under DC law, crimes committed by Washingtonians aged 16 and 17 are eligible to be tried and convicted as adults, all without review by a judge.
B24-0338 would change that.
If enacted, the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act would update DC Law so alleged crimes committed by Washingtonians under the age of 18 would be tried as juveniles in Family Court. Though, a judge would have the discretion to transfer the matter to adult court if they see fit. The judge will exercise this right if it becomes apparent that rehabilitation of the accused is not possible or for public safety.
Washingtonians older than 18 could be affected by this bill. B24-0338 also updates DC law to define the term “child” to include a person under 21 charged with a delinquent act before they turned 18.
The period to submit written testimony for this bill has passed, but the hearing can be viewed at the DC Council site. Chairman Phil Mendelson introduced the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021 at the request of DC Attorney General Karl Racine. Any questions about the next steps of this bill or its contents should be directed toward their offices.