Fayette commonwealth's attorney talks about opening juvenile courts

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Should criminal cases involving juveniles be open to the public? Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson is raising that question.

It comes after police tell us children are responsible for some crimes in Lexington this summer. That's why Larson says it's time for some changes in the juvenile court system.

By now, you probably know who the commonwealth's attorney is in Lexington. Ray Larson speaks out about a lot of different topics. Wednesday's topic is juveniles.

"Times have changed," said Larson. "Now juveniles are now committing very serious crimes."

And because of that, he wants who he calls 'thugs, hoodlums, and punks' to be open to public scrutiny because right now they are not.

"As citizens, for crying out loud, we're entitled to know who the thugs are," said Larson. "And one way to do it, even if they're young thugs, is to open up juvenile court."

Larson is shining light on this issue now following recent crimes this summer that have been committed by juveniles. Like on Sunday, police say three young teens stole a car that ended up leading police on a chase off Richmond Road. And about two weeks ago, four children, ages 11 to 13, were charged in an ice cream truck robbery off Leestown Road.

"Robberies, homicides, and serious crimes are being committed by these young thugs, and the public ought to be able to know about it," said Larson.

Larson tells us his reasoning behind his stance is simple. He says people are entitled to know who commits these crimes and what happens to them afterwards.

But juvenile courts here in the Bluegrass are closed to the public, unlike almost every other court. That's been the case for about a century. And it's something Larson hopes will soon change.

"Now there were some attempts to do that in the last two sessions of the Kentucky General Assembly, but they didn't go anywhere," said Larson.

It's all coming out now because he doesn't think closed juvenile courts are doing much good.

"So what's the message?" said Larson. "There's no consequences for crime."

Larson says even he doesn't have access to juvenile court records as the commonwealth's attorney.

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