Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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How many children are tried as adults?

In certain situations, minors can be tried as adults when they go to court. Many people assume that this doesn't happen often and that it's only used for the worst cases. The idea is that these crimes are so serious that putting the kids through the proper juvenile courts may not net them a sentence that actually fits. So, how many children are tried this way?

In just 2014, records show that 474 children went to court and were tried as if they were adults. That is just for California.

In some cases, experts have argued that it would be better for these children to get help, not jail time. For instance, one young man was 14 years old when his father took his own life. His mother said it had a profound impact on her son, making him self-destructive and distant.

Before long, she said he started to use drugs and alcohol. She knew what was happening and tried to step in, but it all came back to that suicide. The boy said it helped him forget what his father had done.

When he was 16, he got into trouble and was arrested on serious charges. He got a pair of counts, both of them for causing "great bodily injury." The charges were made even more serious with gang enhancements.

Certainly, these are not things to take lightly, but one legal expert pointed out the rough time he'd had growing up to show how it had shaped him and his mental state when he was just 14 years old, leading to the trouble while he was still a minor.

It's critical for any minors who are going to court to know what legal defense options they have, especially when they may be tried as adults. These sentences can be far more harsh than sentences would be for minors.

Source: Fusion, "These kids needed help, not a prison sentence," Cecilia Chavez, accessed April 25, 2017

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