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Juvenile blended sentencing bill passes in General Assembly

Legislation allowing blended court sentences for certain juvenile offenders was approved by the General Assembly recently.

House Bill 430, filed by State Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, and carried by State Rep. Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville, creates a blended sentencing option for crimes committed by a juvenile 16 years or older that would be a Class A, B or C felony if they were an adult. The bill also extends the juvenile court’s jurisdiction from a juvenile’s 19th birthday to their 24th birthday.

“The blended sentencing route allows for a juvenile coming into young adulthood to still have access to the services and support they need to become successful, law-abiding citizens once they are released,” Farmer said.

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Juveniles accused of an act that would require them to be classified as serious youthful offenders would also have the right to a jury trial. However, they can waive that right only after consulting with their attorney.

House Bill 430 will now head to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk to be signed into law. It will take effect January 1, 2025.

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