PITTSBURGH (AP) -- When children are convicted of crimes, parents are often required to pay the costs of incarceration. But the people footing the bill for Nathan Norcross also happen to be the parents of the victim.
Norcross, 19, is being held in a juvenile detention center for killing his 12-year-old sister Shauna in 1997. And their divorced parents, Charles and Beatrice Norcross, are fighting in court for the right to stop paying $530 a month to keep their son behind bars until he's 21.
"They're going by their guidelines, I understand that, but there's an exception to every rule," Charles Norcross said.
He was referring to a 1999 decision by a Venango County judge, who ruled that the county's Children and Youth Services Agency had the right to demand payments to cover Nathan's housing in a juvenile facility.
The ruling was upheld in Pennsylvania Superior Court on Feb. 12, so the Norcrosses plan to appeal to the state's Supreme Court.
The Pittsburgh-based National Center for Juvenile Justice said all states try to make parents support children held at juvenile facilities.
The laws "were designed to get back some of the costs of the facilities and to prevent the taxpayers from bearing all the burden," said Linda Szymanski, the center's legal research director. "If the kid was living at home, the parents would be supporting him there."
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