Posted on June 22, 2010 in Drug Crimes
When are Minors Tried as Adults?
The question of whether minors should be treated as adults has been a big issue of debate. Research has shown that a person’s brain is not fully developed until age 21, and as a consequence a juvenile may have poor impulse control and the inability to fully understand consequences.
However, with juvenile crime rates rising, federal lawmakers saw a need to change the way juveniles were treated when they committed serious crimes.
In the 1990s, the United States sought to change the way juveniles were handled by the court system. It enacted the Gang Violence and Juvenile Crime Prevention Act of 1998, commonly known as Proposition 21.
Proposition 21 was passed in 2000 despite much controversy from youth and minority groups. Minors committing violent or serious crimes, including gang-related crimes, could now be charged as adults instead of juveniles. Prosecutors, no longer judges, were given the authority to transfer juveniles to adult court.
Additionally, juvenile judges were no longer able to decide whether a juvenile be sent to a treatment center or be issued probation. The court based their criteria minors to be tried as adults on certain criteria including previous rehabilitation attempts, degree of criminal offense, and the circumstances surrounding the offense.
Minors as young as 14 would be tried as adults if the crime they committed was murder, gang-related crimes, certain sex offenses, and repeated offenses.
Proposition 21, coupled with California’s Three Strikes Law, authorized life imprisonment to a juvenile who has committed two violent crimes, followed by a third violent or non-violent crime. However, since Proposition 21 has been in effect, California has changed the place of incarceration for minors to a juvenile facility until they reach 18.
The San Jose law firm of Valencia, Ippolito & Bowman are well-versed with the California penal code and other statutes which move juveniles into the adult court system. Call today to get details about your juvenile’s case.
Valencia, Ippolito & Bowman
991 W. Hedding, Suite 202
San Jose, CA 95126
The question of whether minors should be treated as adults has been a big issue of debate. Research has shown that a person’s brain is not fully developed until age 21, and as a consequence a juvenile may have poor impulse control…