Criminal law is a legal realm that is perhaps unparalleled for its complexities and open-ended questions.
One of those queries is this: Should adolescent offenders in their teen years be criminally charged in the same fashion as older suspects? Should there simply be a single justice system that adjudges crime/sentencing similarly for both teenagers and adults accused of criminal offenses?
We note that key question on our website at the Denver criminal defense law firm of Shazam Kianpour & Associates. We stress on a page addressing juvenile offenses and criminal charging that Colorado judges and prosecutors “take juvenile cases more seriously than they ever have before.”
The results of that intense focus are notable. The bottom line is that many youthful offenders in Colorado face exceptionally harsh outcomes following criminal convictions.
That begs the perennial question posed above relative to sentencing outcomes for juvenile and adult offenders, respectively. And it prompts debate from subject-matter insiders who focus upon the brain development and maturity of adolescents interacting with the justice system.
Some commentators routinely espouse a “do the crime, do the time” hardline philosophy that doesn’t materially distinguish between relatively older and distinctly younger offenders. Many others, though, emphatically point out that most juveniles who commit crimes are cognitively and emotionally different from adult offenders and, thus, typically need to be handled differently. They stress that rehabilitation-focused outcomes are far more often suitable for that demographic than are sentences driven by a punishment rationale.
“We’re starting to take a different lens in our approach for juveniles in the justice system,” say one University of Denver brain-development expert who focuses upon adolescents.
We firmly believe at Shazam Kianpour & Associates that a rehabilitative and alternative-to-prison approach is optimal in most criminal matters involving minors. We welcome contacts to our firm to discuss the tailored advocacy we bring to bear on behalf of youthful Colorado offenders.