AP NEWS

ACLU questions prosecutor over charging juveniles as adults

January 4, 2020 GMT

CLEVELAND (AP) — Records show that an Ohio county prosecutor was on track to send around 100 children to adult court to face criminal charges for the second consecutive year, a practice criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio as being unnecessary in most cases.

As of mid-December, Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court records indicate 99 teenagers have had cases bound over to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in 2019, cleveland.com reported. Nearly nine in 10 of those juveniles are black, records show.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley, whose jurisdiction includes Cleveland, said many of the juveniles his office prosecutes as adults previously were charged in juvenile court and then committed more crimes.

O’Malley, a Democrat who took office in January 2017, told cleveland.com in October that he does not apologize for trying to keep the community safe.

The ACLU is not opposed to transferring juvenile offenders to adult court, but said it is not necessary in most cases.

“Binding over a youth to adult court leads to the denial of age-appropriate supports for that youth, and increases the likelihood of trauma and recidivism,” said ACLU advisory counsel Claire Chevrier.