1. What issues arose surrounding the case in terms ofadjudicating the suspect in juvenile or adult court?
Observingfrom the sidelines as the court guard, I noticed that there was anissue regarding whether the suspect should be tried in a juvenilecourt or an adult court. The suspect, a young male, was one weekshort of his 18th birthday. The prosecution was requestingmore time so that the suspect will be eligible to be tried in anadult. The prosecution added that the suspect was in-and-out ofcourt, and hence there was need for stringent sentences that are onlyavailable in adult courts. On the other hand, the defense attorneyargued that it would be a violation of the suspect’s right to afair trial if they had to wait until his 18th birthday.
2. How, if found guilty, was the juvenile sentenced, and whatindividuals in the court process made an impact?
Thejuvenile was sentenced to 40 days of community service by thejuvenile court. As the defense attorney, I had the greatest impact onthe court process. The juvenile was ignorant of his rights as asuspect to a crime and the prosecution was willing to take advantageof that. I also noticed that the juvenile had no language skills(Willison et al, 2013). If it were not for him, the juvenile wouldhave received a harsher sentence. In addition, I had to convince himto be remorseful in order to receive a lighter sentence.
3. Do you believe that the sentence was adequate? Excessive?
Asthe prosecutor, I feel that the sentence was not adequate. 40 days ofcollecting garbage are not enough to change the ways of the juvenileheaded for disaster. The first time he was in court was forassaulting an old woman. This time, he is in court for shoplifting. Iwould say that the ‘three strikes rule’ should not apply here(Zimring et al, 2001). It would not be prudent to let this unreformedoffender out in the streets so that he can commit another third crimefor him to receive a serious sentence. I think the court has failedthe young man. He might never reform again after his third strike.
4. What are the ages of the juveniles and what were theelements of the pre-adjudicatory stages of the process?
Thejuvenile was 17 years, 1 week short of his 18th birthday.If it were all up to him, as the judge, I would have referred him tothe adult court. The first stage of the trial was to rule on whetherto release of detain (Wadsworth, 2005). Since the suspect was oldenough, I decided to detain him during the period of the trial.During the intake process, the court found out that it was indeed togo to trail instead of releasing the juvenile. The prosecution feltthat there was no need for diversion because the suspect had alreadygone through a trial process in his last offence.
5. What relation did the victims have to the juveniles?
Thevictim in this case was a local supermarket owner. He was not relatedto the juvenile in anyway. According to the testimony of the shopowner, he always saw the juvenile around his shop buying some items.He ever knew that one day he would be the one to be caught in ashoplifting case. He says that juvenile did not look like one toengage in antisocial behavior.
6. How can you better manage how juveniles are processed andstrategies to prevent delinquency?
Asthe defense attorney, I feel that the current juvenile justice systemis more punitive than it is corrective. Almost half of the juvenilesthat I represent in the juvenile court end up committing anotheroffense as soon as their probation is over. It is for this reasonthat I feel it would be better to engage the services of counselorsin the juvenile justice system (Mcord, 2002). Some of these offendersdo not know the impact of their antisocial behavior on theirassociation with the society. Once they fail to adapt to the stigmaassociated with ex-cons, they revert to crime.
McCord, J. (2002). Counterproductive juvenile justice. Australian& New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 35(2), 230-237.
Wadsworth, J., (2015). Juvenile court process pretrial, trial andsentence. Thomson Learning Inc.
Willison, J. B., Visher, C., Mears, D. P., & Butts, J. A. (2013).National Survey of Juvenile Justice Professionals, 2005-2007 [UnitedStates]. ICPSR26381-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortiumfor Political and Social Research [distributor], 03-21.
Zimring, F. E., Hawkins, G., & Kamin, S. (2001). Punishmentand democracy: Three strikes and you`re out in California. OxfordUniversity Press on Demand.