The debate on whether the goals of the juvenile justice system are met has been going on for what seems like forever. Critics of the system argue that too many children are being treated as adults, and thus not being given a real chance at rehabilitation. Another criticism of the system is that children often fall through the cracks, or get caught up in the red tape, and never truly get a fair chance at results that will help get them back on track towards a positive future.
A story about two Florida children who were convicted of murder at the young ages of 12 and 13 is an illustration of two of the problems with the juvenile justice system. Curtis and Catherine Jackson are among the youngest people ever tried and convicted as adults, for murder. They are now being released from jail. Some of the problems with their case and possible reasons as to why such young children, who asked to bring gaming systems with them to their cells, were treated as adults include:
- The children, fearful of abuse from their father’s girlfriend, entered a plea to resolve their case. This meant there was no trial of the matter, and thus no jury to hear the story from two young children about the abuse they feared. Had a trial taken place, it would have been easy to see these were children, not acting with the maturity expected of adults. Perhaps then the matter would not have ended with a nearly 20 year jail sentence, but rather a punishment more fitting for kids.
- The lack of trial also meant that no paper documentation was produced to show a history of abuse, which would have helped to mitigate the circumstances of the act.
The brother and sister are now being released from jail, but will be serving a life time sentence of probation. This means that even the smallest offense could land one of them back in jail, so they must take special care to be sur and abide by all the terms of their probation. We have experience helping people stay on track while on probation, and can also help you if you have been charged with a violation of probation. Call us today for help with probation issues, or for questions about defense of juveniles.
For help defending criminal charges, call our office to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. We help people charged with all sorts of crimes in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Call today to schedule an appointment.