When a Juvenile case is presented before the Criminal Judge, the factors considered are different from those in an Adult case when deciding upon the appropriate sentence. For A juvenile case, the biggest concern is to reform the individual and prevent them from becoming a part of the criminal system in the future. They want to educate and deter the juvenile and break any habits that may be forming, before they become an adult.
With those goals in mind the Judge considers many different aspects of a youth’s background. They look at how often the child skips or is late to school and what their grades are. If the child’s grades are high, then they might be getting bored in school and will look to provide more of a challenge so that the child remains engaged with the tasks they are given. Additionally, they will look at the company the child keeps. Who are they hanging out with? Who do they associate themselves with and what kind of habits do these kids have?
Another factor considered that differs from an adult criminal case is family background. The Judge will look at the home life of the child and in many cases may determine that the child needs to be separated from the home if he or she feels that the environment at home is negative or conducive to bad habits. Is there alcoholism or substance abuse? If there is, it may lead the Judge to conclude that the kid has a negative influence from the parents and could be reformed if he was given positive attributes and examples to follow.
Extracurricular activities will be considered as well. Is the juvenile involved in activities? Does he or she play any sports, take part in volunteer work, or do they have a job? If there is a great amount of involvement in activities there is a less chance for behavior that would need to be disciplined. The Judge many times will sentence a youth to become involved in a sport or clubs hoping to keep the child busy and away from disapproving activities.
The Judge also sometimes recommends a psychiatrist or psychotherapist to meet with the juvenile and provide a psychological evaluation of the child’s mental health. Many judges attribute a negative pattern of behavior to psychological issues, many of which can be alleviated at an early age.
An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney can help strengthen these factors in creating a powerful defense on your behalf. It is the attorney’s job to sympathize with the juvenile and everyone’s goal to see them seek reform in a healthy and positive way!