10/10/2011

Teen Who Killed Parents Charged as Adult

The Florida teen who bludgeoned his parents to death with a roofing hammer then threw a party in their house for his Facebook friends has been charged as an adult in the case. Tyler Hadley, of Port St. Lucie, will face first-degree murder charges in the death of his parents, Mary Jo and Blake Hadley. Because Tyler is 17 and a juvenile, he cannot face the death penalty.
Investigation into the deaths revealed that Tyler Hadley was high on ecstasy pills when he killed his parents. He confessed to his best friend, Mike Mandell, that he had killed them and that Tyler showed him the bodies of his parents during the party that followed the murders.
Parents Found Dead in Bedroom
Neighbors complained about noise from the house party. Police drove by the location but did not see anything unusual and did not investigate further. Later in the night, authorities received an anonymous tip that the couple had been killed.
When officers returned to the house Hadley told them his parents were out of town, but he appeared to be "nervous and panicky," police reports said. They found the couple dead in their bedroom around 4:20 a.m. Sunday.
Port Saint Lucie Police Capt. Don Kryak said Tyler Hadley remains on suicide watch at the county jail. His case will likely be presented to a grand jury in August, Kryak said.
Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents - Our Mission is to do better!

Juvenile Crime Resulting In Sentencing as an Adult


The United States tries and sentences juvenile as adults.
Children who commit criminal acts may be sentenced in adult courts in the United States. These sentences for property crimes and homicide are imposed on children as young as 14. Children are waived to adult court by a judge or prosecutor. Once sent to adult court, sentencing for all subsequent crimes will be in adult court.
The sentences have included the death penalty. Many of these children serve time in adult prisons. Chidren can be sentenced to life without parole. There is very little rehabilitation available to assist these young people to return to their communities. Race, ethnic, and economic factors are major determinants of which children receive sentences as an adult.

Children tried as adults

Juveniles can be subject to adult criminal trial and sentencing in every state. The procedures for exposing children to adult courts and prisons are transfer laws. The application of these laws has become more frequent and automatic.
States also are exposing juvenile to blended sentencing while under juvenile jurisdiction. America is one of few countries where there is a history of children subjected to execution. The execution of children was ruled unconstitutional only recently.

The Simmons case

At age 17, respondent Simmons and 15-year-old Benjamin planned and committed a capital murder. They abducted, bound, and threw a female victim into a river.
After Simmons had turned 18, he was sentenced to death. His direct appeal and subsequent petitions for state and federal post conviction relief were rejected.
The Supreme Court then held that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments forbid the execution of offenders who were under the age of 18 when their crimes were committed. The Court reasoned that the rejection of the juvenile death penalty in the majority of states, the infrequent use of the punishment … and the consistent trend toward abolition …demonstrated a nation consensus against the practice. Roper v Simmons (03-633) 543 U.S. 551(2005) .
This sanction was applied primarily to the poor and racial minorities. This problem of racial and class issues continues to accent the transfer process.

Juvenile jail

The juvenile justice system has problems in every state. Staff and facilities are inadequate. Institutional racism is exposing African-America and ethnic minorities to generational injustice.
The system is in need of reform at every level. Sentencing juveniles to adult sanctions and imprisonment is becoming easier for prosecutors due, in part to mass media profiling.

Children in the criminal justice system

Basic to the formation and politics of the juvenile justice system is the belief children are legally unable to control appreciate their actions in the same manner as adults. Because of this difference responsibility for criminal acts is reduced and children should be treated with lesser sanctions than adults. Children who commit criminal acts are to be rehabilitated rather than punished to increase their chances for a successful adulthood.
These beliefs are often criticized as being ‘soft on crime.’ The criticisms used currently include lack of procedural safeguards, too broad discretionary authority of juvenile officials, de facto punishment rather than rehabilitation.
These are some of the same arguments used fifty years ago to justify providing juvenile the same due process as adults. The U.S. Supreme court decided in Kent v United States(1966) a formal hearing was to be giving juveniles before being transferred to adult court. An attorney is to be provided as a right to review the case.
In re Gault (1967) this case involved a 15-year-old boy sentenced to confinement until his 21st birthday for making an obscene phone call. The Supreme Court held ,“ that the benefits of the juvenile court and the juvenile court’s unique procedures for processing youths separately from adults should be available without any reductions in the law’s protection.”
In re Winship (1970)established the standard of proof’ beyond a reasonable doubt’, and Breed v Jones(1975), the court found juveniles cannot be found guilty prior to transfer to adult courts. This did not change no bail nor trial by jury procedures in juvenile court.
The issues of rehabilitation and increasing crime rates were addressed in the 1970-80’s. The juvenile court was believed to be inadequately dealing with protection, prevention of delinquency and treatment of youth in secure facilities. “Americans often assume that once we pass a law, create a bureaucracy, and spend money, the purpose of the law, the bureaucracy, and the expenditure will be achieved.”
The problems of how to provide protection and rehabilitation for children in custody is an issue of age of the child and nature of the crime. This is not a new issue but has been basic to juvenile and family law before these courts were established.

Policy Evaluations: Impressionistic versus Systematic

The mass media, particularly the television networks, play a major role in agenda setting. By deciding what will be news, the media set the agenda for political discussion. The headline reads “Boy, 17 gets life in prison for killing mother.” The system has been plagued by staff-on youth ,youth-staff and youth-on youth violence…major deficiencies in education, mental health and health care services” (Dayton Daily News, April 2008)
Sources:
Dye, Thomas R., Understanding Public Policy, (2005), New Jersey Pearson Prentice Hall.
Free,Marvin, Jr. Editor, Racial Issues in Criminal Justice, (2003), Connecticut , Praeger. Praeger.
Myers,David L. Boys among Men Trying and Sentencing Juveniles as Adults, (2005), ConnecticutPitts,Leonard,Jr.," Boy gets life in prison for killing mother","Doubts about the justice systems,(Dayton Daily News,2008)
Griffin, P., Trying and Sentencing Juveniles as Adults: An Analysis Of State Transfer and Blended Sentencing Laws, 2003, Office of Juvenile Justice and National Center for Juvenile Justice New Findings, New Views: A Note of Caution Regarding Sentencing Reform

Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents - Our Mission is to do better!

Teens Tried as Adults A Failure

Experts State Teens More Violent When Placed in Adult Prisons

Juvenile offenders in adult prisons are more likely to be sexually abused and commit suicide. The present system is not working.

1980s and 1990s

As crime by youth was on the upswing in the 80s and 90s, the courts began trying juveniles as adults and giving them longer sentences than juveniles would receive. It seemed to make sense. After all, if a 15-year-old committed armed robbery, he should serve time as an adult. The courts gave little consideration to the maturity level of a 15-year-old or the fact that the teenage brain is not well developed. After twenty years, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has issued a report.

Result Is Failure

Robert L. Johnson, dean of the New Jersey Medical School, states the court actions of the past twenty years have accomplished the following:

  • Laws have not deterred other youth from committing crimes
  • They have not rehabilitated the youth sentenced under them
Johnson is a member of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services assembled by the CDC. The panel reviewed not two or three studies but six. The studies analyzed the effects of sentencing juveniles into adult prisons. Johnson says, "Not only does it not deter youth crime, it actually makes them more violent." A Florida study shows that youth sent into the adult system had 34% more felony arrests after being released than those held in juvenile facilities.
Shay Bilchik, a former prosecutor in Florida, says, "You couldn’t ask for any worse results." Bilchik is now the director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. He was once a supporter of the "try them as adults" trend but has changed his mind. "We’re getting faster recidivism for more serious crimes."

Senate Judiciary Committee

In December two reports were prepared to submit to the Senate as the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act is being considered for reauthorization. The reports call for the youths in adult jails to be housed separately. One would think this would automatically happen, but it does not.

Results

After youth are housed in adult prisons they
  • Commit more crimes
  • Often commit more violent crimes
  • Are more likely to be sexually abused while incarcerated
  • Are more likely to commit suicide
Advocates for juveniles state that our juvenile system is not prepared to help youth at a young age. Not only is the system not helping violent offenders; it is not helping nonviolent offenders. Perhaps the juvenile system needs to become more effective so fewer youth become candidates for the adult system. Something is not working. Hopefully, the Senate will demand change in both how juveniles are rehabilitated and how they are treated if sent to adult prisons.

Dropout Factor

The question needs to be asked how many of these adolescents in the prison system are dropouts? Is this issue partially a school issue and not completely a justice system issue?


Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents - Our Mission is to do better!

Warn your kids!

A heads up from Fort Lauderale criminal attorney, John Contini:
 When I was a teenager and young adult ... I did most of the things I'm talking about here; but back then, these things were misdemeanors - meaning minor offenses that don't typically result in jail sentences ... but TODAY, these are ALL felonies, punishable by lengthy state prison terms!
This is one reason why the United States now leads the world in prison population, and on that note, Florida happens to lead the nation in the highest number of people incarcerated per capita. I'm writing this because most people today have no idea how easy it is to end up in jail. I'm seeing everyday regular people getting indicted and going to jail for what most of us have done at one time or another in our lives. The feds (and law enforcement generally) are "criminalizing" everything, and even scarier than that, they are increasing the "mandatory minimum" prison sentences for almost EVERYTHING, even after upgrading all these crimes earlier from misdemeanors to felonies. The biggest boom in the construction industry these days, involves the construction of new prisons throughout Florida, followed by jails and prisons throughout this country. These jails and prisons are now being "privatized" and run by Wackenhut and their competitors, proving that this is now very lucrative, big business!


"Do your kids know what to do if ...?"

Let's just ask them:
1. What do you do if your friend mentions something illegal on the phone?
Answer: Start breathing heavily and suggestively into the phone … (not!)
Better answer: Talking about something illegal is a crime called "conspiracy," and people are arrested and indicted almost daily for the crime of conspiracy. The only way to avoid arrest and indictment for wire fraud (at a minimum), and any number of other charges relating to the actual suggested conduct, is to rebuke your friend immediately. If you even joke that you might agree to participate, you can and will be indicted, depending on who is listening, and then you're forced to tell a jury one day that you were only kidding.
2. What do you do if a friend pulls dope out in your car?
Answer: Brake abruptly while jamming his head into the passenger side dashboard.
Better answer: Pull over and get your friend and the dope out of your car immediately - the only exception: the friend can stay, if the dope gets dumped immediately out of your car. Why? You can be arrested for "constructive possession" even if you are NOT the one holding the drugs. It is only required for your conviction of this crime, that the drugs be "within" your "reach and proximity," and that you had "knowledge" of the presence of the drugs, and "knowledge" of the "illicit" nature of the contraband, period.

It is NOT required for your conviction that you touched the drugs, or that you tried to use the drugs, or that you intended to use the drugs. Two things are also possible even for the person who does NOT do drugs: either your friend is working with the police in an undercover capacity (after an earlier arrest), and you are being inappropriately set up, or at a minimum, your drug-possessed friend is putting YOU at risk of arrest on a charge of constructive possession.

3. What do you do if you're at a party and the other kids pull out the drugs?
Answer: Strike the junkies repeatedly on or about the head! (Do not do this, as I was only attempting to be humorous)
Better answer: Get out of that party immediately. When the police arrive (pursuant to a warrant or just an anonymous and yet corroborated "tip," those in actual possession of the drugs will NOT be the only ones arrested. That's right - YOU will be arrested too (based on the same laws pertaining to "constructive possession," defined above); and yes, later you'll have your chance in court to explain that you were only hanging out ("mere presence" defense) there at the party, had no intention of using the drugs, you're actually innocent, etc.

We are supposed to be "innocent until proven guilty," but who really believes that anymore? Too often today, we're guilty until proven innocent," so if you don't mind getting arrested, sitting in jail for a night or longer (until paying through friends and family for a bond), and going through a stressful trial in hopes of getting exonerated/acquitted one day, then stay at the party with the drugs.
4. What do I do or say if I'm pulled over?
Answer: Pray.
The legal answer: Be very polite, respectful, maintain eye contact with the officer and always say "yes officer," or "yes Sir," or yes Maam," while never making a face as to disbelief in what he or she is saying. Apologize for causing the officer to make the traffic stop, with something like, "I'm sorry officer, I didn't mean to mess up," or similar words of contrition, assuming you're not one of those few people on the planet who are "mistakenly" pulled over. (Let's face it, more often than not you know why you're being pulled over.) It's best to personify humility and respect, if you would like to have the discretionary option of receiving a "warning" as opposed to a ticket! This works almost every time, though most people in this increasingly rude society today wouldn't know. Surprise the officer - show him/her that YOU are a refreshingly nice throwback to a couple of decades ago when basic civility and manners were a good thing, and respect for law enforcement was a value worth trumpeting.

5. What do you do if you're sexually molested?
Answer: This question is too serious to allow for levity. Do not wash up or clean up, as you must help to preserve the evidence of the crime. Your body is essentially the crime scene. Tell the police immediately (even if you are related to, or friends with, the person who did this to you), and get to the hospital or Sexual Assault Treatment Center as soon as possible! There are "forensic" (legal-scientific) reasons that require your physical presence and evaluation at the treatment center or hospital; so please, for your sake, get some help immediately. There may be traces of hair, saliva, semen or blood from which the experts can obtain a decent DNA sample, allowing for identification, prosecution and conviction of the perpetrator. Call your parents and loved ones as soon as possible, as they only want to help you. They will not judge you, as they love you, and want you to receive immediate help!
These crimes can often occur as a result of victims being drugged. ("roofies," GHB and other dangerous narcotics can essentially knock you out or so disorient you, that you "pass out" and cannot stop the sexual assault. If you're in a bar or nightclub - or even at a date's house or a friend's party, and someone brings you a drink (even a nonalcoholic drink), do NOT drink it, unless you watched the bartender, friend or "date" make the drink right in front of you. If you didn't watch the drink being poured - or if you took your eyes off the drink before taking possession of it (or if you leave it unattended for a moment, then you are clueless as to what was then put in it! This crime ("rape") is different than "date rape," and yet it's just as pervasive. It occurs with enough frequency that it is becoming epidemic in some parts of the country.
5. What do you do if you're asked to take a breathalyzer test?
Answer: Inquire as to whether the officer knows if a 2 pencil is required for this test.
Better answer: If you were not drinking alcohol, take the breath test. Why? If you refuse to take the breathalyzer/intoxilyzer test - and assuming the police officer had the requisite "cause" to request that you take the test, then you will suffer a "license revocation" of at least 12 months in most jurisdictions.
Also, a "refusal" to take the test in Florida, is now a separate crime - simply for the act of the "refusal." Yes, you're entitled to a hearing on this immediate revocation issue, but to be brutally honest with you, winning those hearings at the "Division of Drivers Licenses," is a crapshoot, at best! You are NOT before real judges at those administrative hearings, and that's the rub.
If you have been drinking - more than two beers as an example, then (first of all!) please do NOT drive; but unfortunately, if you use only 1/3 of your brain (!) and fail to follow that sage advice, then don't take the test. The odds are, you'll blow over the legal limit! Best bet: Call your parents or your sober friends, as they'll be more than happy to drive you home - and they'll agree in advance (most of them!), to NOT judge you. You'll end up saving thousands of dollars in legal fees, bail money, towing and storage charges, and a host of other fees and costs; and more importantly, you may even save a life - your own, or someone else's.
6. What do you do if you're arrested for anything?
Answer: Cry uncontrollably while offering to wash the officer's patrol car.
Better answer: Be respectful to the arresting officer and yet invoke your Constitutional rights - your "privilege against self incrimination" (5th Amendment), and your "right to counsel" (6th Amendment) … and how do you do that? Simply inform the officer that you would like to speak with your lawyer. If the officer persists in questioning you after you've already invoked your right to counsel, simply respond the same way you did initially, repeating your invocation of rights. There is no shame or inference of guilt by simply invoking your constitutional rights. Too many men and women have died in defense of this country to preserve these rights. Politicians invoke these rights every day, and you as an ordinary citizen have the same constitutional rights as anyone else.
7. What do you do if the police officer reads you your Miranda rights?
Answer: Tell 'em you don't know this Miranda dude.
Better answer: Invoke them, as just advised, regardless of guilt or innocence, and simply state that you would like to speak with an attorney; and yet be very respectful of the officers. They are in very stressful and dangerous jobs, and they need no additional aggravation or disrespect, even if making a false or mistaken arrest. If you witnessed someone else commit the crime, then that may be the only exception to this advice. In that case, you may choose to redirect the officer to the individual who actually committed the crime. No other response is necessary or advisable.
8. What do you do if you're given a deal (huge reduction in price) that seems too good to be true?
Answer: Tell the dirt bag, "I'm wired, so please speak a little louder?"
Better answer: If it seems to be too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be "true!" The odds are, the item being sold to you is stolen, and if you purchase or receive the item, you can be arrested for the felony charge of "receiving stolen property." The law will assume that you "knew" it was stolen, if it is being sold to you way below its market value. Use your common sense here, and yet I realize that this is a challenging area for a lot of us! "Common sense is not so common anymore."
9. What do you do if one of your friends is carrying a firearm?
Answer: Run! Seriously, that depends on whether they're pointing it at you. Actually, that wasn't entirely serious. The best answer is, that depends on whether your friend has a permit for "carrying a concealed firearm." Ask them if they have one, and if they say they don't have one (and assuming you're outside the home where a permit is then necessary), then get away from them and their gun immediately. If they tell you that they DO have a permit to carry and conceal a firearm, ask them if you can see the permit and that you're simply curious as to what it looks like, etc. "Better to be safe than sorry," as the old saying goes. If they do NOT have a permit to carry and conceal the firearm (and again assuming you're outside the home where a permit is required), then they can be arrested for the felony offense of "carrying a concealed firearm," and you are at risk too, depending on the intentions of your friend.

In Florida, we have the law called "10-20-life," meaning you'll go to prison for a "mandatory minimum" prison sentence of 10 years, if you're convicted of being involved in a felony offense involving a firearm; and if that firearm is discharged (goes off!) during the commission of the felony, you're getting 20 years (mandatory minimum!) upon a conviction; and if someone gets shot when the gun goes off and you end up getting convicted, you're getting "life!" Florida doesn't play around.
Other states are following suit. You need to know about these lengthy mandatory minimum prison sentences, BEFORE you hang around with anyone who illegally carries a firearm and an "attitude" - you know the type, the guys who have that temperament to cavalierly, inappropriately and illegally use the gun!
10. What do you do if you're punched or slapped by somebody?
Answer: Smack 'em back!
OK, the real answer? Call the police immediately, and then your parents, who may want to file a lawsuit against the dirt bag who punched you, depending on whether the idiot has any assets.
11. What do you do if you're in an accident?
Answer: blame the other guy no matter what, since that's what everyone else is doing.
The better answer: Call 911 and get emergency medical help immediately, assuming you're physically able. You may be in shock and in trauma, and your injuries may not fully manifest themselves or be apparent to you for some time - or until after the shock and trauma wears off ; so again, 'better to be safe than sorry," and allow the paramedics to observe and treat you! Call your parents from your cell phone as soon as possible after the accident, and give them your location.

Be aware of the witnesses to the accident and attempt to prevail upon the witnesses to provide you with their names and contact information. Do NOT leave the scene under any circumstances before the police and paramedics arrive, lest you be arrested for the crime of "leaving the scene of an accident." It will be a felony charge of "leaving the scene of an accident with injuries," if someone is injured in the accident.
12. If the guy who hits me has no insurance, why can't I just get more money from my own insurance company to cover all my damages and injuries?
Answer: When you get an insurance policy today and pay for certain "bodily injury" limits, then those are the "limits," period, unless you paid extra ($) for what they call "uninsured motorist" or "underinsured motorist" coverage; and unfortunately, you absolutely need this extra "UM" coverage these days, since there are so many dirt bags out there on the road. In South Florida, the odds are great (approximating 70%!) that if you get in an accident, the other guy will be an "uninsured" or "underinsured" driver - so you'd better have "UM" coverage - since your own injuries will often exceed the limits under your policy; and this is the reason "why," by law, your own company must offer you "UM" coverage up to the same limits as your "bodily injury" coverage - and better for you, before they can escape paying you these "UM" benefits, they have to produce a "rejection form" (approved by the Insurance Commissioner) proving that they offered you these benefits when you took out the policy … and that you "rejected" them at that time.

You'd be surprised at how many people are clueless (like too many lawyers too!) as to this critically important issue - people who could have received far more money under their claims, had they known of this extremely important requirement under the law, people who never "rejected" this coverage "in writing" at the time of their policies, people who were never properly advised of this all-important coverage at the time of their insurance policy application - people who absolutely would have received a whole lot more money, had they only hired a lawyer who knew how to proceed.
13. What do you do if an insurance adjuster calls you about your accident?
Answer: Hang up immediately. (Just kidding, though you can bet it won't be that cute little geico-lizard on the phone)
Better answer: Call John Contini, that nice Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer, who might just be honest enough to give you some free advice, worth a penny more than what it costs you! You'll get that warm and fuzzy feeling inside, knowing you helped the nice lawyer who has kids to support and college tuition around the corner, etc. 954-766-8810 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 954-766-8810 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
14. What do I have to do to get my record sealed or expunged?
The latest: Florida legislature has recently carved out many more new exceptions into the applicable sealing statute today, disallowing a sealing of your record for any offense that involves sexual allegations or violence. There are fewer and fewer crimes that are now eligible for sealing.
You understand that even if you are eligible to have your arrest record sealed (meaning that your arrest did not involve a crime of violence or allegations of sexual misconduct), the sealing of your record only blocks access by a public party seeking information from public records. The Clerk of Court will place your sealed record, without destroying it, in a special secured area so that public access to your records is denied without a person obtaining a Court Order to unseal your record and file. Alternatively, if you are eligible to expunge your record, your record is destroyed by the Clerk's office and police agencies. However, your records are still held by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for future references by law enforcement or the Courts.
You need to know that the process of sealing and expunging your arrest records is a long, tiresome and tedious process, involving a half dozen law enforcement agencies including FDLE, the involved county and city police departments, the Clerk's office, the prosecutor's office and the Court, and this hemmoroidal process (too often an administrative nightmare) may take several months - at a minimum to complete.
Check out http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/expunge if you would like to get this thing done for free, God willing, thereby avoiding the quiet and festering resentment you'll no doubt feel for lining the pockets of nice lawyers like me. Seriously, I wish you the absolute best.

© 2008 John Contini (OK to re-post with attribution and contact info)
---
John P. Contini & Associates, P.A.
1112 SE 3rd Ave.
Fort Lauderdale FL 33316
www.JohnContini.com
john@jpcontini.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots.
Office: 954.766.8810
Author:
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Please feel free to call me anytime and tell me of your problem or concerns, and if I can offer any decent and informative, free advice, I am more than happy and even privileged to be of help.
I truly hope that you can hear my heart in all this - that I would LOVE to be of help, even if this means only on the phone providing you with hopefully some good information or advice!
A friend,
John Contini

---
John P. Contini & Associates, P.A.
1112 SE 3rd Ave.
Fort Lauderdale FL 33316
www.JohnContini.com
John@jpcontini.com
Office: 954.766.8810
Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents - Our Mission is to do better!

Aaron Hart: Aaron Hart sentenced to 100 years

Do you think the sentencing of Aaron Hart, of Texas, was fair?



By Javier Lavagnino on June 11, 2009 8:47 AM | No TrackBacks
A sentence of 100 years in prison was handed down for mentally disabled Texas teen Aaron Hart after he pleaded guilty in his sexual abuse case. The case has raised some serious questions not only about the length of the sentence, but as to whether a viable alternative was available, too.

The AP provided background on the story as follows:

"Aaron Hart, 18, of Paris, was arrested and charged after a neighbor found him fondling her stepson in September. The teen pleaded guilty to five counts, including aggravated sexual assault and indecency by contact, and a jury decided his punishment."

Sex offenses against children are amongst the most heavily punished crimes in the books, generally speaking, but even the jury in this case apparently didn't expect what was eventually handed down to Hart. Jurors indicated that "they sent the judge notes during deliberations in February, asking about alternatives to prison, but didn't get a clear answer. They believed the judge would order concurrent sentences, jurors said."

Concurrent sentences are not uncommon in cases involving multiple, similar or related offenses (the precise circumstances of Hart's offenses are not clear from the story). A defendant who is found guilty of multiple offenses gets a sentence on each count. However, when such sentences are run concurrently, a person's time in jail or prison gets applied to each count at the same time. In other words, the sentences don't stack up on top of each other, unlike consecutive sentences.

Despite the jury's reported expectations, however, this isn't what happened in Hart's case. His sentences on five counts (two 5 year terms, plus three 30-year terms) were stacked, one on top of the other, to add up to 100 years. The judge, the AP reported, said "neither he nor jurors liked the idea of prison for Hart but they felt there was no other option" and "[i]n the state of Texas, there isn't a whole lot you can do with somebody like him."

A District Attorney's charging decision also enters into this equation, because the number of charges brought (even for single or similar incidents) can directly impact the eventual sentence if it isn't run concurrently. The District Attorney in Hart's case, Gary Young, said that although he "sympathized with Hart's situation", he "hope[s] people will remember he committed a violent sexual crime against a little boy". Hart plans to appeal.
Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents - Our Mission is to do better!

Kentucky kids age 10 and younger routinely face criminal charges

Kentucky com 15 August 2011

On at least four occasions last year, 5-year-old children in Kentucky faced charges for alleged criminal mischief, harassment, abuse of a teacher and criminal trespassing. In all, 2,117 criminal charges have been filed against children 10 and younger in Kentucky since 2006. It's a number that shocked a key state lawmaker, who now plans to hold legislative hearings on the issue.
Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents - Our Mission is to do better!

ATLANTA : Appeals court allows life sentences for juveniles

Appeals court allows life sentences for juveniles

ATLANTA -- A federal appeals court on Wednesday held that juveniles convicted of murder can be sentenced
to life in prison without parole, seeking to settle a lingering debate over how the courts punish minors
who commit serious offenses.

The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that juveniles cannot be sentenced to death and that the
y also can't be sentenced to life in prison without parole for rape and other non-homicide offenses
. The ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday, though, upheld life sentences for juveniles
convicted of murder.

The decision came in the case against Kenneth Loggins, who was convicted in Alabama of killing
a hitchhiker in 1994 and originally sentenced to die. He was 17 at the time of the killing, so his
punishment was reduced to life without parole because the Supreme Court banned such executions in 2005.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/09/07/2395169/appeals-court-allows-life-sentences.html Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents - Our Mission is to do better!

Teen to be tried as juvenile for killing

NEW CASTLE, Pa., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania teenager charged with shooting his father's fiancee when he was 11, killing her and her unborn child, will be tried as a juvenile, a judge said.
Common Pleas Judge Dominick Motto reversed a decision he made last year that Jordan Brown, now 13, should be tried as an adult, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. An appellate panel ruled this year a juvenile cannot be forced into an adult trial simply for not admitting the crime.
Jordan will now go before a judge instead of a jury. If convicted, he can be sentenced only to a juvenile facility and must be released at 21, while an adult conviction for murder would have carried a sentence of life with no parole.
Kenzie Houk, 26, of New Beaver, was killed with a 20-guage shotgun. Prosecutors argued Jordan planned the crime with a certain amount of sophistication, while defense lawyers pointed to his lack of a violent history as a sign he could be rehabilitated.
Defense lawyer Dennis Elisco called the decision "a relief."
"It's long overdue and clearly the correct result," he said.

Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents - Our Mission is to do better!

If I Get Out Alive - Children Sentenced to Adult Prison - Press Play to Listen

Broken on all sides

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