Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon said juvenile justice reforms — like the Raise the Age Act — “make it difficult to hold teenagers accountable,” and predicted things would only get worse.
“For the most part, what we’ve seen is this gun violence outside of schools, but next we’re going to see it in schools,” said McMahon, a Democrat.
On Monday, an 18-year-old pulled a black revolver at a 17-year-old fellow student at City-As-School HS in the West Village.
On the same day, someone shot out the windows of two classrooms at PS 78 in Staten Island’s Clifton neighborhood. Adult students were in one room and the other was empty. McMahon said the shooting was gang related. No one was injured and no arrests were made.
In October, a stray bullet hit a 14-year-old walking across from Tottenville High School in the same county when a member of a group of five began shooting. The school went into lockdown and students were told, “This is not practice!”
“It seems like the smallest thing that can upset her, whether it’s an insult or an insult on social media. They’re going to war. To them, war means grabbing a gun and shooting it,” McMahon said.
Under the Age Raising Act of 2017, persons under the age of 18 cannot be prosecuted as adults in almost all cases.
McMahon said young people are “absolutely” aware of the law and that older crew members hide guns with younger ones.
“If you’re 16 and you’re caught with a loaded gun and you’re taken to family court, you’re out in an hour or two. I can’t even prosecute this case,” said McMahon, a former congressman. “You have to show the gun before we can even attempt to prosecute.”
He said he wanted to hold lawbreakers accountable “to try to reconnect them with society”.
“I’m not saying every 16-year-old goes to jail. But there’s no meaningful result here, so they’re right back at it,” he said.
McMahon also pointed to a “shocking” shortage of school safety officers and a shortage of school counselors, which are contributing to the rise in violence.
He said that only one school security officer at PS 78 was on duty during Monday’s shooting.
“The criminal justice system was really slowed down by the Albany laws,” he said.
https://nypost.com/2023/02/18/da-mcmahon-says-juvenile-justice-reforms-upping-violence/ DA McMahon says juvenile court reforms increase violence