A young man who spent part of his boyhood in Denver lived with mother addicted to crack and never met his father. It appears that any crimes he was accused of as a juvenile were minor in nature. He ran away from home when he was 16-years old and a short time later ended up in adult prison.
This individual was accused of participating in a couple of armed robberies. As the district attorney was asking for 40 years to life in prison for the young man, this 16-year old then agreed to a plea deal that amounted to a 15-year sentence – most of which was to be served in adult facilities.
In many states, there have been crackdowns on alleged juvenile offenders for those arrested of certain crimes. It’s not uncommon for minimum sentences for any number of convictions to be no less than ten years. This would include crimes such as armed robbery or sexual assault. Repeat offenders may find themselves looking at life sentences without any possibility of parole.
Those drawn into the prison system at such a young age often then find themselves in the outside world after serving their sentences completely unprepared for what happens next. The only role model for young prisoners was older prisoners that had also spent a lifetime caught up in the system. Not surprisingly, many young people end up back in the prison system after already serving a long sentence.
Criminal defense attorneys will represent youthful offenders and try and make courts understand the consequences that come about when courts hand out harsh penalties to youths that have never even had a chance to grow up.
The above young man is now out of prison and working a construction job. It appears that he has had his ups and downs since leaving prison. This may be in part because he has never learned how to live independently and has been told everything he is to do. However, he still hopes for something better.
Source: Juvenile Justice, “Boys Growing Up to be Boys: Mandatory Minimums and Teens in Adult Prisons,” by Ryan Schill, March 25, 2013
- Convictions require proof that a crime has actually been committed. Our law firm will represent individuals accused of felonies including armed robbery, sex crimes and domestic assault.