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Bill calls to raise age limit for juvenile court cases from 18 to 21

Updated:

BOSTON - Proposals have been offered in Massachusetts to raise the age limit for young people to have their criminal cases heard in juvenile court.

Defendants 18 and older are currently tried in adult court and subject to adult penalties.

Bills scheduled to be heard on Monday by the Legislature's Judiciary Committee call for gradually raising the upper age in delinquency from 18 to 21. Referring to those in that age group as "emerging adults," supporters of the proposals say the juvenile justice system is better equipped to handle their cases and provide rehabilitative services.

Exceptions could still be made to try young people as adults if they're charged with serious crimes such as murder.

The legislation would also bring the minimum age for juvenile court jurisdiction up from 7 to 12.