‘Strike a balance’: NC bill would allow police to identify some juvenile suspects

CHARLOTTE — A bill that passed the North Carolina state Senate on Thursday would make it easier for law enforcement agencies to disclose the names of some juvenile suspects.

Under the current state law, that can’t be done unless a juvenile has been referred to adult court.

This new bill would allow police to release a information on a juvenile suspect if they are accused of a violent crime and officers need helping finding the person.

“We tried to strike a balance between those privacy needs of the juvenile and the public safety reasons and we provided a judicial review,” Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed told Channel 9.

Mohammed worked on that compromise in the bill. It requires a judge to give permission before the information is released.

One of the reasons privacy is protected in the juvenile justice system is to give teens a second chance after they’ve served their time.

For that reason, community activist Kristie Puckette Williams thinks this is a mistake.

“Guilty or not guilty, to have people know the intimate worst days of your life forever, it doesn’t allow you to move beyond that,” she said.

Shetata and Keon Taylor told Channel 9′s crime reporter Glenn Counts that they support identifying all teen suspects accused in violent crimes.

Their son, Nahzir Taylor, was shot and killed moments after he got off his Rocky River High School bus last December.

“We have to hold these kids accountable,” Shetata said. “If it’s embarrassing to have your name released, then it should be embarrassing to commits these crimes.”

Two teens, Rodrizus Stafford and Viccardo Streater, both 16 at the time of the shooting, are charged with Nahzir’s murder.

The suspects were identified, because they because they will be tried as adults. The Taylors say any teen accused of a violent crime deserves the same treatment.

“If you do something that’s violent your information needs to be put out there, absolutely,” Keon said. “If you’re not going to care, then why should we care about your privacy?”

After receiving Senate approval, the bill now heads to the state House for consideration.

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