Juvenile Offenders and Adult Punishment

St. Charles defense attorney, Illinois juvenile defense lawyer, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Sometimes, when juveniles commit crimes that are serious and often times shocking, they can be tried as adults and face adult penalties. A recent case in Wisconsin is an example of this, where two young girls are accused of repeatedly stabbing a friend, trying to kill her in order to appease a fictional character from the internet. The crime has shocked many due to the severity of the crime, the youth of the offenders, and even the fact that both offenders are girls. If they are convicted of the crime, the girls face a possible prison term of 60 years or more.

Juveniles Sentenced as Adults

There are an estimated 1,200 people in prison in the United States serving life sentences after being tried, convicted, and sentenced as adults for crimes they committed as children. Prior the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Roper v. Simmons, several states allowed the death penalty for children. These kinds of permanent disciplinary outcomes for children may seem harsh to some people who argue that these types of sentences do not give children a chance to learn from their mistakes and become more productive members of society. For some of the victims or their families, however, these sentences are in line with some of the heinous crimes committed. The United States is the only country in the world that incarcerates children for life.

Earlier this year the Illinois Supreme Court decided that several inmates, who were sentenced to life without parole sentences as juveniles under previous Illinois law, deserved a new sentencing hearing. These new hearings would allow judges to consider the circumstances of the person’s original crimes, and the circumstances of their social life at the time of the crime, in deciding on an appropriate sentence. Under previous Illinois law, a judge was not allowed to consider these factors. The ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court is in line with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miller v. Alabama.

In Illinois, juveniles charged with certain offences are automatically transferred to adult court as a matter of law. Furthermore, once a juvenile is convicted of a crime as an adult, they are subsequently tried as adults for any other crimes they commit. This can have a serious impact on a juvenile offender. In Illinois, a juvenile is defined as any person 17 years or younger.

Contact an Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

If your child has been charged with a crime either as a juvenile or as an adult, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle the defense. At Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC our dedicated Naperville criminal defense attorneys have experience dealing with juvenile cases and they zealously represent clients to ensure the best results. Contact us for a consultation in your case.