Common Concerns Parents Have Regarding Juvenile Offenses
Interviewer: Going back to the parent, what are the top concerns?
Parents Are Most Anxious to Minimize What Their Child Will Be Facing
Adam: The first concern for most parents is to minimize whatever the juvenile may face. If it’s going to be jail time, they want minimize it. If they have to go to jail, they want to minimize everything down to zero if they can obviously.
Does My Child Need Treatment or Counseling?
The other major concern would be is whether or not the child has an issue. And that tends to be secondary because they do not want to understand that the child probably does have some issues that they need to deal with.
If they’re 14 now and they’re getting a DUI or an OVI, well first of all, they’re not old enough to drive, and why are they out drinking and driving? So there may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed on those. But first and obviously the most preeminent issue is keep the child out of jail and they are most anxious to learn how that can be accomplished.
Juveniles and Murder Charges
Interviewer: What kind of cases have you seen in regard to juvenile murder charges? What kind of situations?
Under Ohio Law, If a Crime Is Committed by a Person under Confinement at the Time, Such as Being on Probation, This Raises the Level of the Charge They Face
Adam: I’ve had juvenile murder and one of the problems that you look at is the way murder is actually defined under Ohio law. If a person is on probation, they’re considered under confinement. A charge that should be manslaughter charge could transform into a murder charge, just because they’re considered under confinement at the time. They’re under a disability if they’re out on bond or if they’re out on bail or if they’re on probation.
Even though it should be considered an involuntary manslaughter charge, it could transform itself into a murder charge, just based on the individual’s background. It’s bizarre the way that the revised code is written. But you could look at a situation and everybody knows that this should be a manslaughter charge—and then all of a sudden just because they’re on probation or they’re out on bond—now it’s murder.
Weapons Charges are Serious Charges for Juveniles
Interviewer: What can happen with a juvenile and the outcome for a weapons case?
Adam: Typically it’s somebody found dad’s gun and they’re fooling around with it and it discharges and it ends up taking a life. Even if it’s a less severe scenario, it’s still enough to warrant the police to come out and investigate.
It gets even more bizarre because I had one where an individual was in possession of a stolen firearm, so now we have receiving stolen property and the discharge of a weapon that results in the death of an individual. So it can get, you have receiving and yes, a multitude of charges.
Cyber Bullying Is a Serious Juvenile Offense
Interviewer: Have you already seen cases that have to deal with cyber bullying?
Adam: I’ve had some that have come close. I’ve never had anybody actually charged under it. There is still the potential for an individual to face charges and it is important for the attorney to present sufficient mitigating circumstances to argue why the charges should not be pursued.
Interviewer: Why is it taken seriously?
Adam: It’s taken seriously because there have been other individuals that have killed themselves or been assaulted because of electronic posts on a cell phone or social media. The use of the Internet has become so prominent and Facebook is so popular, that tends to be the way that juveniles interact with each other. Whether it’s a threat or whether it’s an assault as a result of the threat, it’s just out there. It’s constant, it’s continual every day exposure to the Internet.
Juveniles Are Entitled to Be Appointed Public Defenders
Interviewer: In juvenile court, do they also provide public defenders? Are they entitled to those as well?
Adam: Juveniles would be entitled to a public defender.
Is a Public Defender a Viable Option to Defend Juvenile Charges?
Interviewer: What would you tell the parent as far as the difference between hiring a private attorney versus a public defender in a juvenile case?
Adam: I guess I would never disparage a public defender, but the old adage is you get what you pay for sometimes. So if you’re not paying for somebody and you might not get much in return, but there are good public defenders out there.
Public Defenders Carry Heavy Caseloads
It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to dedicate themselves to getting whatever the best result is because they have a multitude of other cases they have to handle and they’re stretched a little thin.
By Adam Hunt