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Providing criminal defense services to
clients throughout the East Bay and
its surrounding areas.

Sentencing, parole could change for California juvenile offenders

Kids will be kids. It is inevitable that before they reach adulthood, many kids will get into some sort of trouble with the law. For some, the charges will be minor offenses such as curfew violation, shoplifting or vandalism. For others, however, the charges can be much more serious. Allegations of date rape, murder or drug possession carry long-term consequences—including life in prison.

California state prisons house over 6,500 juveniles; more than have of which are serving life sentences. Some of the inmates were a mere 14 years old when they allegedly committed the crimes. A number of recent rulings by the California high court, however, have set a precedent that when a child charged with a crime is tried as an adult and sentenced according to adult standards it is not acceptable any longer. It should be considered cruel and unusual punishment. Upon doing so, the court also challenged lawmakers to create legislation that supported the rulings. If a bill that just passed the assembly also passes the senate, it will change the parole process for juvenile offenders. It is designed to inspire juvenile offenders to better themselves so that they can return to society. Both the age of the inmate as well as his or her rehabilitation while in prison would be taken in to account to determine parole eligibility. Some could be eligible for parole after serving 15 years.

A momentary lapse of judgment shouldn’t ruin the rest of a child’s life. Whether your child has just been charged with a juvenile crime or has already been convicted, this bill could have a significant impact on the outcome of the case. A defense attorney who is familiar with juvenile proceedings may be able to help lessen the consequences and get your child a second chance.

Source: Human Rights Watch, “California: Second Chance for Youth Offenders,” Sep. 6, 2013.

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