A 13 year old Ohio boy entered the equivalent of a guilty plea in juvenile court after admitting he fatally shot his mother in the head with a rifle when he was 10 after what a relative described as an argument over chores. According to his defense attorneys, the boy, now 13, was living in an emotionally abusive environment, had had an argument over carrying firewood, was provoked by his mother’s screaming and “just snapped.” The boy went to a neighbor’s house, called 911 and told the dispatcher he had shot his mother at their home.
When juveniles (under 18 years of age) commit crimes, they may be taken into custody by a law enforcement officer. Depending on the type of crime, juveniles might be taken to a juvenile assessment center where they will be screened for detention. Depending on the charge and based on an assessment of risk to the public and the needs of the juveniles, they may be placed on any of three forms of detention status: home, non-secure or secure. If placed in secure detention they will be held in a secure facility until the court decides their case. In cases involving a possible homicide, the juvenile will most likely be put in secure detention awaiting trial.
Juveniles who are prosecuted as adults may be sentenced to adult or juvenile sanctions. After a hearing, the court will decide on the sentencing or disposition. Any juvenile who is prosecuted and sentenced as an adult, regardless of age, will be treated as an adult in any future criminal proceedings. However, juveniles who are prosecuted as adults but sentenced as juveniles keep their status as juveniles.
Many think that because the court may apply an adult charge to a juvenile, that the same punishment may be applied. In certain circumstances, a child may be punished as an adult. However, capital punishment is different. The United States Supreme Court in the case of Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005), stated that it is unconstitutional to impose capital punishment for crimes committed while under the age of 18.
The courts must consider mitigating factors in rendering punishment on the accused. Those that have the best chance of getting their cases resentenced would be children who committed crimes that had mitigating factors including mental health issues, child abuse in the home, individuals who did not have significant roles in the commission of the offense, the age of the child, whether the commission of the crime was sophisticated, the possibility of rehabilitation, and even peer pressure.
Adolescents are involved in situations like this unfortunately all across America. Not every one of those juveniles truly understood their actions, nor were they intending to kill their parents. One in a situation like this should obtain an experienced Jacksonville juvenile crimes defense attorney to fight the case and show one’s justifiable reasons for one’s actions, ensuring the court has a real understanding, and not the State Attorney-created image that is so often painted for the Judge.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Joseph McVay, 13, Admits Killing Mom In Fight Over Chores, The Huffington Post