It happened again last week in the south of Boston island known as Cape Cod. Two gentlemen were arrested for armed robbery of a taxi driver in Oak Bluffs. Soon, they were facing the halls of Justice in Edgartown after the brief investigation. One went to regular court. One met his attorney in Juvenile Court.
It is not a terribly unusual occurrence in today’s criminal justice system. In fact, this daily blog has posted various such stories over the past year.
I started handling cases of adult/juvenile “team-ups” back in Brooklyn when I was a prosecutor. At the time, juveniles became the drug dealer of choice because of a belief in the trade that kids would not be prosecuted. So, they would be paid the “big bucks” to do the actual hand-to-hand sales. Whether the logic was correct then or not…it is not correct now.
Juveniles get prosecuted today and said prosecution can last a lifetime.
Juvenile records do not always get sealed like they used to. Further, at least in Massachusetts, juveniles can even be prosecuted as adults should the severity of the crime be deemed to merit it, such as can be the case in homicide cases.
A juvenile’s criminal history can also short-circuit the most critical years of his or her life. A juvenile does not become an adult until the age of 18 years. These are years during which people are applying to schools and hoping to gain the education that will serve them best in their adult lives. Commitment to the Department of Youth Services (the juvenile version of the Department of Corrections) or some kind of juvenile probation (both of which can last until the age of majority) can set in motion an inability to get the desired higher education, thereby resulting in a handicapped future.
The bottom line is that, although treated differently from adults, juveniles face severe, often life-altering, consequences when facing criminal allegations.
It is to be treated extremely seriously. The same warnings apply. Get an experienced attorney at the first possible moment…if not sooner.
If you, or a loved one, find yourself facing the juvenile justice system and wish to discuss your matter with me, feel free to call me at (617) 206-1942.
For the full article underlying this blog, see http://www.mvtimes.com/print/web2printer4.php?img=0&lnk=0&style=/styles/common/print.css&page=http://www.mvtimes.com/marthas-vineyard/news/2009/08/13/taxi-heist.php