Mar 26, 2018 in Case Studies

Juvenile Cases: Shawn’s Incident

It was on 25th December 1998 when Shawn, a 16-year-old boy, attacked and stabbed his father repeatedly with a knife in Los Altos, a neighborhood of California. Shawn’s father received stab wounds on his arms, neck and head as a result of his son’s attack. The puzzling issue about the attack was the fact that there was not concrete reason that could have explained the motive behind Shawn’s attack on his father. Both Shawn and his father had a history of having a cordial relationship; therefore, it was difficult to ascertain what prompted Shawn to attack his father.

However, it emerged that Shawn had been using Marijuana. When confronted by the police over his actions, Shawn seemed not to be aware that he had attacked and stabbed his father. As a result of the attack, Shawn was taken to court on attempted murder charges. His prosecutors filed papers that intended to take Shawn’s trial to an adult court instead of the juvenile one. If Shawn was found guilty of the attempted murder charges, he would have faced a compulsory imprisonment that would have ranged from 15 years to a life sentence.

After extensive deliberations with his parents, Shawn decided to plead guilty in order to be incarcerated in the juvenile prison. If Shawn decided to plead not guilty, he would have faced the risk of being sent to an adult prison to serve a much bigger sentence. By accepting incarceration in the juvenile prison, Shawn had avoided having an adult criminal record. Shawn’s time in the juvenile prison would be minimal compared to the time he would have spent in an adult prison since the juvenile system could only jail him until he reached the age of 25.

Many people who knew about Shawn’s case felt that the court had been lenient and that he did not receive the punishment he deserved. The time Shawn spent in the juvenile prison seemed not to have rehabilitated him since he was found smoking pot immediately after his release, which, thus, led him to a second-time incarceration. Shawn is due to be sentenced to serve additional time in the California Youth Authority or some local prison in February next year.

Jose’s Case

Jose was born into a troubled family. His father was a heroin addict, which must have been the factor that contributed to his disappearance and abdication of his fatherly duties. Jose’s mum was also a troubled woman and she too disappeared while he was very young. Due to the lack of proper parenthood, Jose got entangled in the activities of a local gang and began to abuse both drugs and alcohol.

In the year 1998, Jose took part in a deadly fight. He and his four friends had been drinking in an alley when an argument arose. Two Mexican immigrants were among the people drinking in the alley. The argument that arose resulted into a fight between the two Mexican immigrants and the other people who were drinking in the alley. One of the Mexicans suffered a crushed skull while his colleague broke his ankle as he tried to escape the fight. The commotion that arose from the fight woke up neighbors forcing Jose and his friends to escape from the scene of the fight.

Soon after, Jose was arrested and taken to court to answer to the murder charges leveled against him. The prosecutors of the case organized a fitness hearing in an attempt to move Jose’s trial from a juvenile court to an adult one. However, investigations into the case found out that Jose and his friend found the Mexican who had suffered a broken ankle and took him home. Proceedings in Jose’s trial revealed that although Jose was present in the fight, he had played a very minimal part in attacking the two Mexicans. The above factors coupled with the fact that Jose was still too young and intoxicated on the night of the crime prompted the court to offer him a deal.

The court’s deal with Jose would involve him pleading guilty in an adult court to a smaller involuntary manslaughter charge. The judge presiding over Jose’s case sentenced him to serve 208 days in Juvenile Hall prison. During his incarceration, Jose put a lot of effort into doing his schoolwork and graduated shortly before his release. Five months after his release from prison, Jose got a job and also joined a community college. However, he still had an adult criminal record although he had transformed into a model citizen.

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