Switch to ADA Accessible Website
Orlando Criminal Lawyer
call for a free
consultation

It’s Time for Florida to Stop Trying Juveniles as Adults for Minor Crimes

FedCrime

We previously discussed widespread corruption and abuse in the Florida juvenile justice system. Florida leads the nation in charging children and teens as adults, where three-quarters of these children are African-American or Hispanic. Between 2016-2018, the number of children transferred to the adult system was between 900 and more than 1,000, each year.

Bill Introduced To Take Discretion Away From Prosecutors

Fortunately, there may be some glimmer of bipartisan hope from the state legislature: There is currently a measure–HB 575–that will help push back against prosecutorial overreach and instead allow a judge to determine whether or not prosecutors could charge a juvenile as an adult via providing the youth with an evidentiary hearing within 30 days. If the judge said no (where the standard would be whether it is necessary to prosecute that child in adult court in order to protect the community), that case would then, instead, return to the juvenile system.

The judge would consider the following factors in making this decision:

  • The child’s maturity, including any failure to appreciate risks and consequences, intellectual capacity, mental and emotional health;
  • The child’s record and previous history, including any history of trauma, abuse, or neglect, any previous convictions and sentences as an adult;
  • The nature of the alleged offense and the child’s participation in it;
  • The likelihood of reasonable rehabilitation of the child;
  • Cost-effective alternatives available to held the child and whether they can obtain them in the juvenile justice system; and
  • Whether the child’s best interests would be served by prosecuting them in juvenile court.

The bill also does more: it prevents juveniles from being held in adult jails until the judges made a decision and juveniles could not be automatically remanded to adult court. This would affect thousands of youths in Florida, as over the last 10 years, more than 15,000 have been charged in Florida adult courts. What’s more, most of these children are children of color; specifically, 67 percent of the children arrested. Most of those tried in adult court have also been accused of very minor offenses. This phenomenon has been occurring due to a procedure known as “direct file,“ which allows prosecutors discretion to get around the state minimum age requirement for adult prosecution and charges.

This intervention could make the difference between life or death in terms of a young person being punished for life and plunged into deeper criminality by that one mistake, or, instead, being able to finish school and find a job.

Contact Our Florida Juvenile Crime Defense Attorneys

Although HB 575 has been approved by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee, it has not yet been scheduled for additional committee votes, and state Senate has also not yet created a companion bill. It is currently in the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee.

If you are a juvenile who could be facing charges as an adult, contact our experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys at the Baez Law Firm today to find out how we can help.

Resource:

miamiherald.com/opinion/editorials/article228770254.html

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
Miami

Miami Office

1200 Brickell Avenue #620
Miami, FL 33131
Office: 305-999-5100
Fax: 305-999-5111
Orlando

Orlando Office

23 South Osceola Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
Office: 407-705-2626
Fax: 407-705-2625

Email Us

Fields Marked * Are required

Captcha Image

DISCLAIMER: Completing and submitting this form or otherwise merely contacting The Baez Law Firm or any individual at the firm will not establish an attorney/client relationship. Our firm cannot represent you until we determine that there would be no conflict of interest and that we are otherwise able to accept representation of your case. Please do not send any information or documents until a formal attorney/client relationship has been established through an interview with an attorney and you have been given authorization in the form of an engagement letter with The Baez Law Firm. Any information or documents sent via this form or otherwise prior to your receipt of an engagement letter will not be treated as confidences, secrets, or protected information of any nature. Submitting information regarding your potential case will not bar The Baez Law Firm from representing or continuing to represent a person or entity whose interest are adverse to your in condition with your case.

DISCLAIMER: This website contains information about The Baez Law Firm that includes testimonial statements from persons who are familiar with the firm's services. The testimonials shown are not necessarily representative of every person's experience with us. Testimonials from every client are not provided. As no two situations or persons are identical, the facts and circumstances of your situation may differ from those for which testimonials are shown. This website also includes information about some of the past results that we have obtained for our clients. Not all results are provided, and the results shown are not necessarily representative of all results obtained by us. No two situation are exactly alike; every person's situation is unique and the outcome for each person depends on the individual facts.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2015 - 2019 Baez Law Firm. All rights reserved.
This law firm website is managed by MileMark Media.

Contact Form Tab Contact Form Tab