Bill to Reform Juvenile Justice Courts Passes Senate, Heads to Governor

Legislation that would help to prevent corruption in county juvenile courts has passed the State Senate with unanimous support and now heads to the Governor for his approval, according to Senator Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne).

Baker worked with Representative Todd Eachus to develop and gain passage of House Bill 1648, which would establish an 11-member Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice to conduct a thorough review of juvenile justice procedures, practices, rules and regulations. The Commission, appointed by the Chief Justice, General Assembly and Governor, would also develop and recommend remedies and reforms where necessary.

“With the corruption continuing to draw headlines, and with the corrupt judges refusing to quietly accept their disgrace and punishment, the public very much wants assurance that progress toward remedies and reforms is being made,” Baker said. “This Interbranch Commission represents that progress.”

Baker is leading efforts to respond to corrupt practices in the Luzerne County Juvenile Court, which resulted in hundreds of juveniles being improperly sentenced and inappropriately placed in detention facilities. She said the legislation passed today in the Senate will help to ensure that children and families who enter the system receive fundamental constitutional protections and that cases are handled ethically and fairly.

Baker said the quick action to establish the commission is the result of strong cooperation among all three branches of state government.

Contact: Jennifer Wilson
(570) 675-3931