JUVENILE JUSTICE MODIFICATIONS. (NEW)

Printer-friendly: Click to view
View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
House Bill 834 (Public) Filed Wednesday, April 19, 2023
AN ACT TO MODIFY THE DEFINITION OF DELINQUENT JUVENILE, TO MODIFY THE TRANSFER PROCESS FOR INDICTED JUVENILE CASES, TO CREATE A NEW PROCESS TO REMOVE A CASE TO JUVENILE COURT, TO MAKE CHANGES TO SCHOOL USE OF INFORMATION, TO MAKE SECURE CUSTODY HEARING CHANGES, TO MAKE TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS, TO MAKE CHANGES TO CERTAIN DISPOSITIONAL ALTERNATIVES, AND TO INCREASE THE PUNISHMENT FOR AN ADULT TO SOLICIT A MINOR TO COMMIT A CRIME AND TO MODIFY THE NUMBER OF DAYS FOR REQUEST FOR REVIEW BY A PROSECUTOR.
Intro. by Davis, N. Jackson.

Status: Received from the Governor (House action) (Jun 14 2024)

SOG comments (3):

Long title change

Committee substitute to the 1st edition changed the long title. Original long title was AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A PROCEDURE TO EVALUATE WHETHER A JUVENILE HAS THE CAPACITY TO PROCEED AND TO APPROPRIATE FUNDS.

Long title change

Committee substitute to the 2nd edition changed the long title. Previous long title was AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A PROCEDURE TO EVALUATE WHETHER A JUVENILE HAS THE CAPACITY TO PROCEED, TO APPROPRIATE FUNDS, TO MODIFY THE TRANSFER PROCESS FOR JUVENILES WHO ALLEGEDLY COMMITTED CERTAIN FELONIES, TO MODIFY THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF CERTAIN INFORMATION CONCERNING JUVENILES UNDER INVESTIGATION, AND TO MODIFY THE INTERROGATION PROCEDURES FOR CERTAIN JUVENILES.

Long title change

Senate amendment to the 3rd edition changed the long title. Previous title was AN ACT TO MODIFY THE DEFINITION OF DELINQUENT JUVENILE, TO MODIFY THE TRANSFER PROCESS FOR INDICTED JUVENILE CASES, TO CREATE A NEW PROCESS TO REMOVE A CASE TO JUVENILE COURT, TO MAKE CHANGES TO SCHOOL USE OF INFORMATION, TO MAKE SECURE CUSTODY HEARING CHANGES, TO MAKE TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS, TO MAKE CHANGES TO CERTAIN DISPOSITIONAL ALTERNATIVES, AND TO INCREASE THE PUNISHMENT FOR AN ADULT TO SOLICIT A MINOR TO COMMIT A CRIME.

Bill History:

H 834

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Jun 17 2024 - View Summary

    The Governor vetoed the act on June 14, 2024. The Governor's objections and veto message are available here: https://webservices.ncleg.gov/ViewBillDocument/2023/8881/0/H834-BD-NBC-12173.


  • Summary date: May 15 2024 - View Summary

    Senate amendment to the 3rd edition makes the following changes. Amends GS 7B-1704 (concerning requests for prosecutorial review of juvenile court counselor's determination not to file a delinquency petition) to give the complainant and the victim ten working days from receipt of the juvenile counselor's decision, unless waived by the district attorney to request prosecutorial review of that decision (currently have five calendar days to request review). Makes conforming changes to the act's long title.


  • Bill H 834
    Summary date: May 14 2024 - View Summary

    Senate committee substitute to the 2nd edition replaces the bill in its entirety with the following.

    Amends the definition of delinquent juvenile in GS 7B-1501 to exclude persons under the age of eighteen but who are at least sixteen who commit the following offenses: any offense punishable as a Class A, B1, B2, C, D, or E felony if committed by an adult, together with any offense based on the same act or transaction or on a series of acts or transactions connected together or constituting parts of a single scheme or plan of that offense, and any greater or lesser included offense of that offense. Makes organizational changes.

    Adds new GS 15A-960 (removal of juveniles charged with committing a Class A, B1, B2, C, D, or E felony), requiring the superior court to issue a written order for the removal of the action to juvenile court upon joint motion of the prosecutor and the defendant's attorney, when an indictment has been return or a criminal information has been issued for the above felonies so long as the jury has not been sworn and impaneled. Requires the order to direct that the chief court counselor or his or her designee file a juvenile petition in the case within ten calendar days after removal is ordered. Directs the prosecutor to provide the chief court counselor or his or her designee with a copy of the joint motion prior to submitting the motion to the court. Provides for expunction of the superior court charges and record by the superior court. Allows for an order of secure custody and provides for delivery of such order to the chief court counsel or designee. Makes conforming change to GS 15A-145.8 (expunction when case is remanded for juvenile adjudication) and GS 7B-1902 (custody orders, including secure custody orders). Amends GS 7B-1808 (first appearance for felony cases in juvenile court) and GS 7B-1906(b2) (continued secure custody hearings for juveniles) to include felony cases removed from superior court under GS 15A-960 as one of the felony classes that is subject to the procedural requirements of the statute.

    Amends GS 7B-2200 (transfer of jurisdiction to superior court of juveniles under age 16) to require, in cases where jurisdiction has been transferred to superior court, for the juvenile’s case to be remanded back to district court upon joint motion of the prosecutor and the juvenile’s attorney. Provides for copies of the joint motion to be given to the chief court counselor or designee. Requires the superior court to expunge the record at the time of remand. Allows for an order of secure custody and provides for delivery of such order to the chief court counsel or designee. Makes technical, clarifying, and conforming changes.

    Amends GS 7B-2200.5 (transfer of jurisdiction to superior court of juveniles 16 and older) to change the felonies that trigger a required transfer from Class A, B1, B2, C, D, E, F, or G felonies to just Class F or G felonies. Makes conforming changes.

    Amends GS 7B-2202 to require the prosecutor to calendar the date of the probable cause hearing. Directs that a probable cause hearing conducted in any case in which a juvenile was thirteen, fourteen, or fifteen years of age at the time the juvenile allegedly committed an offense that would be a Class A felony if committed by an adult or in any case in which a juvenile was sixteen or seventeen years of age the time the juvenile allegedly committed an offense that would be a Class F or G felony if committed by an adult must be conducted within 90 days of the date of the juvenile's first appearance. Allows such probable cause hearings to be continued for good cause. Exempts matters that have been removed from superior court under GS 15A-960. Makes technical and conforming changes. 

    Adds new GS 7B-2202.5 (concerning indictment return appearances). Requires the prosecutor to immediately notify the court if a true bill of indictment is returned for an offense (i) that constitutes a Class A felony if committed by an adult that was allegedly committed when the juvenile was at least thirteen years of age but less than sixteen years of age or (ii) that constitutes a Class F or G felony if committed by an adult that was allegedly committed when the juvenile was at least sixteen years of age but less than eighteen years of age. Requires a hearing to take place within five business days of the date the true bill of indictment was returned, limited to determining only if notice of indictment as described above was provided. If so, then the court must transfer jurisdiction over the juvenile to superior court for trial and determine conditions of pretrial release under GS 7B-2204 (juvenile right to pretrial release).

    Amends GS 7B-1906 to extend the time for when custody reviews automatically occur from every ten days to every thirty calendar days. Requires the court to schedule a custody review hearing within ten calendar days if any party requests or the court itself orders a custody review hearing before the next thirty-day hearing occurs.

    Gives the court discretion under GS 7B-2506(4) and (22) (dispositional alternatives for juveniles) to determine whether co-participants should be held jointly and severally liable for the payment of restitution (currently, court must hold all participants jointly and severally liable for restitution).

    Excludes transfers to superior court when the order transfers a Class A felony under GS 7B-2200(b) or a Class F or G felony pursuant to GS 7B-2200.5(a) from a right of appeal to superior court under GS 7B-2603. Allows those types of transfers to only be appealed in the Court of Appeals if the juvenile has been convicted in superior court.   

    Amends GS 7B-3101 by narrowing the types of felonies that trigger the juvenile court counselor’s obligation to notify the juvenile’s school principal that delinquency petition has been filed to Class A, B1, B2, C, D, or E felonies (currently any act that would constitute a felony if committed by adult triggers notice requirement). Requires the principal to make an individualized determination related to the student’s status during the pendency of the matter and bars an automatic suspension policy.  Makes conforming changes to GS 115C-404(b).

    Makes technical corrections to GS 7B-2401.2(d) (forensic evaluation reports) and GS 7B-1904 (orders for secure or nonsecure custody), effective January 1, 2025, and applying to offenses committed on or after that date. 

    Amends GS 7B-2401.4(f)(3) (pertaining to remediation for juveniles alleged to have committed Class F, G, H, or I felonies) to only allow an extension of the remediation for up to six months for good cause (currently, there is no good cause requirement), effective January 1, 2025, and applying to offenses committed on or after that date.  

    Amends GS 7B-2401.5(a) (pertaining to involuntary commitment) to direct that no juvenile committed under the statute may be placed in a situation where the juvenile will for any purpose come in contact with adults, effective January 1, 2025, and applying to offenses committed on or after that date.

    Amends GS 14-2.6 (punishment for solicitation to commit a felony or misdemeanor) as follows. Specifies that a person who solicits an adult to commit certain felonies or a misdemeanor can be another adult or a minor. Directs that unless a different classification is expressly stated, a minor who solicits another minor to commit a felony is guilty of a felony that is two classes lower than the felony the minor solicited the other minor to commit, except that a solicitation to commit a Class A or Class B1 felony is a Class C felony, a solicitation to commit a  Class B2 felony is a Class D felony, a solicitation to commit a Class H felony is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and a solicitation to commit a Class I felony is a Class 2 misdemeanor. Directs that unless a different classification is expressly stated, a minor who solicits another minor to commit a misdemeanor is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. Directs that an adult who solicits a minor to commit a felony or misdemeanor is guilty of the same class felony or misdemeanor the adult solicited the minor to commit. Defines adult and minor.

    Makes conforming changes to act's titles. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2024, except as otherwise provided above.


  • Summary date: May 31 2023 - View Summary

    House committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes.

    Part I.

    Amends GS 7B-2401, pertaining to determinations of incapacity in juvenile proceedings, to include instances where a juvenile is unable to assist in their own defense in a rational or reasonable manner (currently, just reasonable manner). Exempts juveniles subject to transfer by indictment under GS 7B-2200.5(a)(1) (juveniles subject to transfer because they are 16 or older and charged with certain felonies) and GS 7B-2200 (concerning transfer of jurisdiction of a juvenile under age 16 to superior court) from the incapacity provisions set forth in GS 7B-2401. Makes technical change.  

    Specifies effective date of January 1, 2025, for the act’s statutory changes under Part I, Section 1, and effective date of July 1, 2023, for act’s appropriations. Provides that prosecutions for offenses committed before the effective date of Section 1 of Part I of the act are not abated or affected by Section 1 of the act, and the statutes that would be applicable but for Section 1 of this act remain applicable to those prosecutions. Specifies that changes apply to offenses committed on or after January 1, 2025.

    Changes references from juvenile “charged with an offense” to “juvenile that allegedly committed an offense” throughout the act.

    Adds the following new content to the act.

    Part II. 

    Amends one of the notice options under GS 7B-2200.5(a) (transfer of jurisdiction of a juvenile at least 16 years of age to superior court) to require a return of a true bill of indictment from the grand jury as provided in GS 15A-630 instead of a finding of a court on a bill of indictment. Makes conforming change to GS 7B-2200. Effective December 1, 2023, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.

    Part III. 

    Enacts GS 7B-3103 authorizing courts to order the Division of Juvenile Justice of the Department of Public Safety (Division) or any law enforcement agency within the State to release to the public specified information about a juvenile upon making three written findings in the order: (1) that a petition has been filed alleging the juvenile committed at least one offense that would subject the juvenile to transfer to superior court under GS 7B-2200 or GS 7B-2200.5, (2) the court determines that the juvenile presents a danger to self or others based on their record or the nature of the offense(s), and (3) the court determines good cause exists. Enumerates information about the juvenile that may be disclosed, including a photograph, first name and last name, the offense alleged, whether a secure custody order was issued, and a statement of the juvenile's threat to self or others. Prohibits disclosure if the juvenile is taken into custody prior to release of the information. Requires the disclosing entity to make a reasonable effort to notify a parent, legal guardian, or custodian of the juvenile before disclosure. Requires that the information released be removed when the juvenile is taken into custody. Creates an exception to permit release of certain information relating to a juvenile without obtaining a court order first by the Division of Juvenile Justice of the Department of Public Safety (Division) or any law enforcement agency within the State if exigent circumstances exist. Requires releasing party to seek a court order as soon as reasonably practicable but by no later than the first available session of a court in the county after the release of information. Specifies that if the court does not authorize the release of information, then it must be removed from any website or social media account controlled by the law enforcement agency or the Division. Effective December 1, 2023, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.

    Part IV.

    Amends GS 7B-2101 regarding juvenile interrogation procedures as follows. Requires juveniles who are at least 16 and in custody to be advised, prior to questioning, that the juvenile has a right to have a caretaker present during questioning (in addition to current law that includes the rights to: have a parent, guardian, or custodian present for questioning, applicable to all juveniles; to remain silent; to consult with an attorney; and to be informed that any statement can and may be used against them). Defines caretaker as any person other than a parent, guardian, or custodian who has responsibility for the health and welfare of the juvenile in a residential setting; includes stepparent; foster parent; adult member of the household; adult entrusted with the juvenile's care; potential adoptive parent during a visit or trial placement with a juvenile in custody of the county department; house or cottage parent who has primary responsibility for supervising a juvenile's health and welfare in a residential child care facility or residential educational facility; or employee or volunteer of a division, institution, or school operated by the Department of Health and Human Services. Specifies that if a juvenile age 16 or older requests that a parent, guardian, or custodian be present during questioning, then law enforcement must make a reasonable effort to contact the parent, guardian, or custodian; allows a caretaker to be present during questioning if one of those individuals is not available. Effective December 1, 2023, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.

    Makes clarifying, technical, conforming, and organizational changes throughout Part I the act. Makes language gender inclusive. Makes organizational changes to the act. Makes conforming changes to act’s short and long titles.


  • Summary date: Apr 21 2023 - View Summary

    Amends GS 7B-2401, pertaining to determinations of incapacity in juvenile proceedings, as follows. Deletes provisions specifying that GS 15A-1001, 15A-1002, and 15A-1003 apply to all cases in which a juvenile is alleged to be delinquent and which barred a juvenile committed under the statute from being placed in a situation where they will come into contact with adults committed for any purpose. Replaces GS 7B-2401 with the following. Prohibits any juvenile from being transferred to superior court for trial as an adult, adjudicated delinquent or undisciplined, or subject to disposition for an offense in juvenile court, including a violation of probation, when, by reason of mental disorder, intellectual disability, neurological  disorder, traumatic or acquired brain injury, or developmental immaturity, the juvenile is unable to understand the nature and object of the proceedings against them, to comprehend their own situation in reference to the proceedings, or to assist in their own defense in a rational or  reasonable manner. Allows the court to go forward with any motions which can be handled by counsel without the assistance of the juvenile. Specifies that GS 7B-2401 does not apply to individuals over whom the juvenile court has jurisdiction pursuant to GS 7B-1601(d) through (d1) nor to any juvenile who is subject to transfer by indictment pursuant to G S 7B-2200.5(a). Specifies that capacity to proceed under these circumstances will not be addressed by the juvenile court, and instead can be raised  pursuant to Article 56 of GS Chapter 15A if the superior court obtains jurisdiction of the proceeding. effective January 1, 2025.

    Defines developmental immaturity, division, forensic evaluation, forensic evaluation report, incapacity to proceed, and remediation. Enacts new GS 7B-2401.2, setting forth procedures to determine capacity of juveniles. Allows for the question of capacity to be raised at any time by the juvenile, the court, the prosecutor or the juvenile’s attorney, with a requirement that the motion describe the specific conduct that leads the moving party to question the juvenile’s capacity to proceed. Requires a hearing on the question of capacity, with notice to be provided to the juvenile and prosecutor. Require that the court inquire into capacity if the offender is less than 12 years of age. Permits the court to appoint one or more forensic evaluators qualified by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to examine the juvenile and return a forensic evaluation report, which is admissible at the competency hearing. Allows for the court to call experts on its own initiative, which does not impede the rights of any party to retain and call their own expert witness.

    Permits, at any time in the case of a juvenile charged with an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult, for the court to order the juvenile to a State facility for the mentally ill for observation and treatment for the period, not to exceed 60 days, necessary to determine the defendant's capacity to proceed. If a juvenile is ordered to a State facility without first having an examination pursuant to GS 7B-2401.2, requires the judge to make a finding that an examination would be more appropriate to determine the juvenile's capacity. Requires the Division of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the Department of Public Safety (Division) to return the juvenile to the county when notified that the evaluation has been completed. Requires the director of the facility to direct the report to the defense attorney and clerk of superior court, who must bring it to the attention of the court. Specifies that the report is admissible at the hearing. Specifies that any court ordered forensic evaluation must be conducted in the least restrictive environment, considering the best interests of the juvenile and the safety of the public. Provides for transportation to that location by the Division.

    Sets deadline of completion of forensic report at 30 days after the report was ordered, unless extended for good cause and specifies deadlines for submission of the report to the court based on the offense charged or whether the juvenile has challenged the determination of the court-ordered evaluator. Prohibits the court from granting extensions totaling more than 120 days beyond these time periods. Specifies persons who should receive the report and how delivery should be made, with specifications that the report is confidential and should be treated as such. Specifies that an order for forensic evaluation stays the proceedings, except for custody determinations and transfer of jurisdiction. Sets forth requirements for evidentiary hearing, including requirement that the court issue findings of fact and conclusions of law. Prohibits subjecting a juvenile found incapable to proceed to transfer, adjudication, disposition, or modification of disposition so long as the incapacity exists.        

    Enacts GS 7B-2401.3, providing for a credentialing body designed and supervised by DHHS to set and maintain the minimum standards to qualify professionals who are court-appointed to conduct forensic evaluations as ordered pursuant to GS 7B-2401.2. Specifies that this does not infringe on a juvenile’s right to retain their own expert. Specifies that qualified professionals who have been conducting forensic evaluations of juveniles prior to enactment of GS 7B-2401.3 will be deemed to possess the minimum requirements to become an evaluator, but will be required to satisfy DHHS’s qualification standards within 12 months of the adoption of those standards. Provides for process of disclosure of confidential records to forensic evaluator when an evaluation is ordered by the court as described above. Specifies that no statement or disclosure made by the juvenile during the forensic evaluation regarding their responsibility for a criminal act that can result either in an adjudication of delinquency or transfer of a matter to superior court for trial as an adult is admissible in any juvenile or criminal proceeding against the juvenile or defendant. Specifies that the forensic evaluation cannot include any such statement. Sets forth three elements that the forensic evaluator is required to consider as part of the forensic evaluation, including the capacity of the juvenile to proceed and identification of the basis for any incapacity. Requires the report to cover seven listed matters, with four additional prongs of information if the juvenile is incapable to proceed, including recommended treatment or education for the juvenile to attain capacity (if any), the likelihood that the juvenile will attain capacity in the foreseeable future, an assessment of the probable duration of the treatment or education required to attain capacity, and if treatment is recommended, the least restrictive environment for that treatment.  Provides for reasonable fee to forensic evaluator for evaluation.

    Enacts GS 7B-2401.4, concerning remediation ordered for the juvenile to attain capacity to proceed upon a required finding by the court that the juvenile is incapable to proceed, and substantially likely to attain capacity in the foreseeable future. The remediation services must be based on the recommendations from the forensic evaluation and in the least restrictive environment considering the best interests of the juvenile and the safety of the public. Provides for eight additional considerations that the court must weigh when determining where services may be rendered. Sets forth time limitations on remediation services based on gravity of the offense. Provides for contents of remediation order. If the court finds less restrictive alternatives are inappropriate, then the court may enter an order for the juvenile to be assessed for involuntary commitment.

    Designates the Division as responsible for providing psychoeducation remediation programming and working with community partners to secure any additional services recommended in the forensic evaluation report. The Division is authorized to contract with UNC-Chapel Hill or any other qualified educational organization to develop and conduct related trainings and curriculum. Requires the remediation service provider to provide reports to the court at least every 90 days with required information. Specifies that these reports cannot contain any inculpatory statement described above. Requires a review hearing on the report within 30 days of receipt with notice. Allows for the juvenile, and their parent, guardian, or custodian to present evidence and advise the court on the remediation services. Specifies that a remediation order can only be amended or supplemented after notice and the hearing. Allows for reassessment of capacity and new forensic evaluations by someone who is not the remediation specialist for the juvenile. Provides for notice to the court by the remediation specialist when the specialist determines that the juvenile has likely completed the requirements of the remediation services. Permits release of the report to the prosecutor after providing notice to the juvenile and a reasonable opportunity to be heard and then determining that the information is relevant and necessary to the hearing of the matter before the court and unavailable from any other source. Provides for confidentiality of records.

    Enacts new GS 7B-2401.5, concerning involuntary commitment of a juvenile, as follows. Specifies that when the court finds that a juvenile is incapable to proceed and not likely to attain capacity in the foreseeable future, permits the court to conduct an additional hearing, as the court determines to be necessary, to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to believe the juvenile meets the criteria for involuntary commitment. If the presiding judge finds reasonable grounds to believe that the juvenile meets the criteria, requires the judge to make findings of fact and issue a custody order in the same manner upon the same grounds and with the same effect as an order issued by a clerk or magistrate pursuant to GS.122C-261. Specifies that proceedings thereafter are in accordance with Part 7 of Article 5 of GS Chapter 122C. Requires that if the juvenile was charged with a violent crime, including a crime involving assault with a deadly weapon, the judge's custody order must require a law enforcement officer to take the juvenile directly to a 24-hour facility as described in GS 122C-252. Requires that the order must also indicate that the juvenile was charged with a violent crime and that the juvenile was found incapable of proceeding. Specifies that evidence used at the hearing regarding capacity to proceed is admissible in involuntary civil commitment proceedings. When the court finds that a juvenile is incapable to proceed and not likely to attain capacity in the foreseeable future, requires the court to dismiss the petition. Permits the prosecutor to voluntarily dismiss with leave any allegations stated in the petition, prior to the termination of the jurisdiction of the court. After the completion of all capacity hearings or after a juvenile has been found not to be substantially likely to be restored to or to attain capacity in the foreseeable future, the court must direct the clerk to seal all forensic evaluations, remediation reports, and any other records pertaining to the capacity of the juvenile. Specifies that records sealed pursuant to GS 7B-2401.5 may be opened or inspected only by order of the court or for appellate review.

    Amends GS 7B-1906, pertaining to secure or nonsecure custody hearings, to specify that when the capacity of the juvenile to proceed is questioned, further hearings to determine the need for secure custody must be held at intervals of no more than 30 calendar days from the date of the motion. Further hearings may be waived only with the consent of the juvenile through counsel for the juvenile. Upon request of the juvenile, through counsel for the juvenile, and for good cause as determined by the court, further hearings to determine the need for secure custody may be held at intervals of 10 days.

    Effective January 1, 2025.

    Effective July 1, 2023, appropriates $217,135 from the General Fund to the Division in nonrecurring funds for 2023-24 and $895,1862 in nonrecurring funds for 2024-25 to implement the provisions of the act.

    Specifies that prosecutions for offenses committed before the effective date of the  act are not abated or affected by the act, and the statutes that would be applicable but for this act remain applicable to those prosecutions.