Court

Photo: Mark Martin
Courtesy of Mark Martin

The chief justice of North Carolina's top court threw his support behind legislation to raise the age of juvenile offenders.

North Carolina is now the only state to automatically try 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in criminal court. But Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin says it's time for that to change.

"Our own Department of Public Safety conducted surveys on this issue which reflected that over 90 percent of parents already thought that 18 was the age for adult jurisdiction," Martin said.

During a press conference to rally support for the bill, Martin highlighted that North Carolina is the only state that has not upped the age limit to try defendants as adults. He said that teenage mistakes can follow North Carolinians into their adulthood as they seek employment. In other states, an error in judgment made by a 17-year-old would have a smaller impact on his ability to find employment later in life.

Image of Allison Leotta, who wanted to show the ways the criminal justice system does and doesn't work in her books.
Allison Leotta

Allison Leotta was a federal sex-crimes prosecutor in Washington D.C. for more than a decade. Every day when she came home from work, she would think to herself, “I can’t believe what I saw today…someone should write about this.”

She began writing in the mornings before work and at night when she got home. In 2011, Leotta left the Justice Department to write full-time. She has now written four novels about a prosecutor named Anna Curtis, and people often refer to Leotta as “the female John Grisham.”