The State Attorney up in Jacksonville has filed murder charges against a 13-year-old boy for allegedly killing his infant brother. The boy will be tried as an adult.
While the facts of the crime are heinous, the accused is still a child himself. Studies have long proven that children cannot grasp the seriousness of an offense or the consequences that their actions may bring. This is why we have a juvenile system that focuses on rehabilitation and treatment as opposed to punishment, which is one of the main objectives of the adult system.
State Attorneys have great discretion when it comes to children under 14. While some crimes committed by children over a certain age call for mandatory direct filing (mandatory filing of adult charges), when the child is under 14, it is up to the State Attorney.
First-degree murder - the crime this child is charged with - carries a life sentence. If charged as a juvenile, the boy could be incarcerated until he is in his twenties, but he would receive treatment, job training, and counseling that he would not receive in an adult prison.
Children make mistakes. Sometimes horrible mistakes. But should a child pay with his or her life?
If a child is arrested and charged with a serious crime, measures taken early on by an experienced Miami juvenile attorney or Broward juvenile attorney may be able to prevent adult charges from being filed.
Call me to discuss your child's case.