Bill would put 17-year-olds in juvenile courtAP , Associated Press
Aug. 1, 2013 2:31 AM ET
BOSTON (AP) — Seventeen-year-olds would fall under the jurisdiction of the state's juvenile courts under a bill approved by the Massachusetts Senate.
Currently in Massachusetts, 17-year-olds accused of a crime are treated as adults, regardless of the circumstances or severity of the offense.
Thirty-nine other states and the federal government use 18 as the age of adult criminal jurisdiction.
The bill doesn't change the law mandating that 17-year-olds accused of murder be tried and sentenced in adult court.
Supporters of the bill say in almost all other legal matters in Massachusetts — including voting, entering into a contract and serving on a jury — 18 is the age of adulthood.
Sen. Karen Spilka, an Ashland Democrat, said the bill recognizes 17-year-olds are still children and lack adult maturity.
The measure now heads to the Massachusetts House.