The D.C. Council unanimously approved emergency legislation Tuesday to ensure speedy-trial rights for all juveniles detained in the District's juvenile justice system. The District previously had provided statutory 45-day speedy-trial rights to juveniles in secure detention but not to youths held in shelters.
The legislation, which seeks to reduce overcrowding in the District's juvenile facilities, will limit the continued detention of juveniles in shelters or secure detention because of delays in prosecution. Council members Phil Mendelson and Tommy Wells introduced the emergency legislation, which requires a study with recommendations before permanent legislation will be considered next year.
“There’s no reason why some kids should be treated different than others and suffer counterproductive delays,” Mendelson said in a statement today. “This not only gums up the works of our judicial system, but it fails our youth.”