Oklahoma Judge Mike Norman is defending his decision to require 17-year-old Tyler Alred to attend church for 10 years as part of a deferred prison sentence for manslaughter in a fatal car crash. The Judge told ABC News this was not the first occurrence of such a requirement under his service. “The Lord works in many ways,” Norman said. “I’ve done a little bit of this kind of thing before, but never on such a serious charge.”
Norman sentenced Alred after his guilty plea in the August crash that killed a passenger in Alred’s car. Police say Alred had been drinking before the accident. Norman also required Alred to finish high school and complete welding school. The defense and the victim’s family both supported the requirement and an appeal is unlikely.
In Florida, there are many forms of alternative sentencing possibilities for offenders, including drug court, diversion programs and other sentencing measures that involve little or no incarceration time. Particularly for juvenile offenders, there are many alternatives to jail time that can allow the juvenile to move on without the scars of a prison sentence.
In Florida, a “youthful offender” (YO) is any juvenile who is sentenced as such by the court or is classified as such by the Department of Corrections. There are two ways by which a defendant can become entitled to the benefits of the YO statute:
- the trial court can sentence the defendant as a YO, or
- the Department of Corrections can designate a defendant who was sentenced as an adult to be a YO.
One may be sentenced as a Youthful offender if:
- One is 18 years of age or one has been transferred for prosecution to the criminal division of the circuit court.
- One is found guilty, one pleas guilty, or pleas nolo contendere (no contest), to a crime that is a felony if one is younger than 21 years of age at the time sentence is imposed; and
- One has not previously been classified as a youthful offender; however, a person who has been found guilty of a capital or life felony may not be sentenced as a YO under the Youthful Offender Act.
Typically, when one is classified as a YO and is sentenced, the court may place one under supervision on probation or in a community control program, with or without an adjudication of guilt, under such conditions as the court may lawfully impose for up to six years. This period of time cannot exceed the time of the sentence for which one was found guilty.
Adolescents are involved in accidents like Alred was every day. Not every one of those individuals were intending to hurt anyone and are just teenagers making bad decisions. One in a situation like this should obtain an experienced Jacksonville juvenile crimes defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights and defenses are known and protected.