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Relating to the age of a child at which a juvenile court may exercise jurisdiction over the child and to the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
HB 1364 would define child as a person 10 years or older and under 19 years of age who is allegedly found to have engaged in conduct at the second degree felony level or higher, for acts committed before 12 years of age. Or a person who is 12 years of age or older and under 19 years of age who engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct requiring supervision after turning 12 years of age but before becoming 17 years of age.
Additionally, the bill would require children under the age
of 12 to be released from custody for certain offenses unless they pose a significant
threat to society or their own safety. Children found guilty of these offenses
would be offered a hearing without a jury. HB 1364 would also amend the
Human Resources Code to raise the definition of a child in relation to the juvenile
justice services offered at the time of an offense.
A juvenile court would be required to hold a jurisdictional hearing for children under 12 years old provided certain conditions are met. This would ensure that courts could still exercise appropriate jurisdiction for younger children who commit serious crimes.
Texas Action supports HB 1364, as it promotes our principles of individual liberty, personal responsibility, and limited government by ensuring that children who commit crimes are held accountable at the appropriate level for their age.