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California Juvenile Offenders: Special Considerations and Needs


There is steadily growing appreciation in California and across the country that youthful criminal offenders comprise a markedly different demographic than older adults who interact with the criminal justice system.

People of all ages make mistakes, of course, but there is often a compellingly singular — and, understandably, logical — connection between teen offenders and acts of misjudgment that result in criminal penalties.

Put another way: Teens often simply lack the maturity and mental capacity to readily appreciate that an action they are engaged in might result in harrowing and permanently life-altering consequences.

Given that reality, defense attorneys, child advocates, educators, social commentators and even many judges often advocate for criminal justice outcomes that acknowledge the need for differentiated treatment that will teach young persons a meaningful lesson and promote — rather than militate against — redemption.

Prison seldom achieves that goal.

Conversely, and as we note on the Juvenile Defense page of our website at The Law Offices of John W. Noonan in Dublin, other sentencing options are far more conducive to redeeming young offenders and providing them an opportunity for a second chance at turning things around and living a productive life as adults. We refer on that page to “sentencing alternatives that if found responsible are rehabilitative and ensure juvenile offenders are treated fairly.”

There is often much that an impassioned, experienced and client-empathetic criminal defense attorney can do on behalf of a young offender to promote an outcome that is truly equitable and that focuses more on rehabilitation than on mere punishment.

As our website states, we “advocate for juveniles whose futures are at stake,” taking that responsibility very seriously.

We welcome your visit and any questions you might have concerning this important area of criminal law.