APPLETON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin lawmakers are considering a bill that would treat some 17-year-old offenders as juveniles rather than have them tried in adult court.
A Post-Crescent Media report says the bill has support from the State Bar of Wisconsin and the state public defender's office. State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican, opposes it.
In Wisconsin, 17-year-olds have been charged in adult court since 1996, even when they committed nonviolent crimes. The so-called "second-chance bill" would allow nonviolent offenders to be handled in the juvenile system.
That would allow 17-year-olds to avoid an adult prison setting. It would also keep them from having tarnished adult records, which could hurt them when they apply for college or jobs.
Wisconsin is one of 11 states where 17-year-olds are automatically treated as adults