The Palm Beach Post is reporting that a 17-year-old is facing charges as an adult in a shooting that happened at the South Florida Fair in January.
Being charged as a juvenile in West Palm Beach can be a difficult situation for any teenager. When the state decides to charge the teenager as an adult, the situation can be life-altering.
West Palm Beach juvenile defense attorneys understand the challenges of these cases. For one, a teenager who faces felony charges can see their future endangered. A charge like this can lead to disqualification of scholarships or admittance into colleges or universities as well as difficulty finding a job.
But how the two systems work can also be challenging. In the juvenile court system, the goal is to try to rehabilitate teenagers who have gone astray by providing them work camp or alternatives to prison. But the criminal justice system is designed to punish. Judges are less concerned with helping a defendant than with sending them away based on what the law lays forth as the maximum penalty.
This is a delicate situation for prosecutors. On the one hand, the brains of most teens aren’t fully developed, so they may lack the proper ability to determine consequences of their actions. On the other hand, if a crime is committed, the state must fully prosecute.
An individual prosecutor must make the difficult decision of whether to file charges against the teenager as an adult or as a juvenile. Most violent crimes are going to see the juvenile being charged as an adult, depending on their age and prior law enforcement contact. Typically, it’s more minor crimes that end up being shuffled to juvenile court.
In this case, a 17-year-old from Palm Beach Gardens stands accused of shooting two people at the South Florida Fair last month. The teen was denied bond by a circuit judge at an initial hearing, which was rescheduled so that the teen’s West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney could be present.
The teen had been held at the Juvenile Assessment Center for three weeks, the maximum amount of time a teen can be stuck in juvenile custody. He faces charges of aggravated battery with a firearm and a delinquent in possession of a firearm.
The 17-year-old was charged with shooting two other teens– one male and one female — Jan. 28. The two victims were left with life-threatening injuries and the fair was locked down for about an hour as police officers investigated.
According to police, the victim was walking to the exit with friends around midnight when his girlfriend tugged at his shirt, warning him to watch out. Then, a person he identified as “Rone” began firing a gun in his direction. Another teen handed the victim a gun so he could return fire. He said he had known “Rone” since high school and that he was part of a local gang.
Another witness said two groups of people were fighting when a male who was wearing black clothing pulled out a gun. He began shooting at one of the victims, who then returned fire.
If you are arrested in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in South Florida, contact Leifert & Leifert at 954-523-9600 or 561-988-8000 for a free consultation.
More Blog Entries:
16-Year-Old West Palm Beach Juvenile Faces Attempted Murder Charges: January 25, 2012
Judge delays hearing for Riviera Beach teen accused in South Florida fair shooting, by Alexandra Seltzer and Cynthia Roldan, The Palm Beach Post