Coral Springs police have taken a Coconut Creek boy into custody for allegedly setting two separate fires at a Kohl’s department store.
According to Coral Springs police, the 11-year-old boy was arrested after he allegedly set a second fire at the store in the 9000 block of West Atlantic Boulevard.
The boy faces charges for Thursday’s fire and will also be charged with the first fire at Kohl’s on January 9.
11 is particularly young, but under Florida law, he can be prosecuted as a juvenile. Since he is under 14, he will likely not be direct-filed, or sent to adult court.
The boy will likely face charges of arson.
Unlike the "adult" criminal system which typically seeks to punish offenders (with the exception of diversion and drug rehab programs), the juvenile system is entirely based on the premise that children can and should be rehabilitated.
Whereas an adult would face serious prison time for two counts of arson, a juvenile may face probation with a mental health evaluation as a component.
I have spent a lot of time in the juvenile justice system, namely when I was a prosecutor. I can tell you that arson is a troublesome crime when it is committed by a juvenile (especially somebody as young as 11) because that can be the sign of sociopathic tendencies that may materialize in the future. If not treated, the young offender could turn to violent crime.
If there is any true good in the justice sytem, it exists on the juvenile side. A good attorney can mitigate a case like this, resulting in not only mental health services for the offender, but a chance for the offender to avoid a permanent criminal record.
Kids make mistakes and sometimes do stupid things. But sometimes those stupid things are signs of a broader problem. The juvenile system has programs and services in place to assist young offenders and their families.
I have spent a lot of time in the juvenile justice system and I am knowledgeable when it comes to what programs and services are available. Also, there are many options for a juvenile offender. You should consider contacting a criminal defense attorney if your child is charged with a crime.
I can be reached at (305) 542-9491. I handle criminal matters in Miami-Dade and Broward.