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Will a 15-Year-Old Illinois Teen Accused of Murder be Tried as an Adult?

November 3rd, 2017 at 8:04 am

accused of murder, criminal juvenile defendants, juvenile court, juvenile justice system, Rolling Meadows juvenile crime attorneyIn Illinois, we have a juvenile justice system that handles most criminal offenses involving minors (i.e. individuals who are less than 18 years old) and a separate justice system that adjudicates criminal cases involving adult defendants. However, under some limited circumstances a judge will decide that a particular minor should be tried as an adult and will transfer his or her case out of the juvenile system and into the adult system. This is exactly what may happen to a 15-year-old Illinois teen accused of committing first-degree murder.

KWQC TV6 reports that the girl turned 15 just three days before she allegedly murdered her mother. Under Illinois state law a minor who has been charged with first-degree murder will not have his or her case automatically transferred into adult court if he or she is less than 16 years old; however, the possibility of being tried as an adult is still not off the table for Ms. Schroeder.

When Can Minors Be Tried as Adults in Illinois?

Generally speaking, a minor who is accused of committing a criminal offense before his or her 18th birthday will have their case heard in juvenile court. However, the Illinois Juvenile Court Act provides that a minor who is 15, 16, or 17 years old may have their case transferred into the adult justice system and be tried as an adult if the individual is charged with one or more of the serious crimes enumerated under the Act.

The Juvenile Court Act, along with House Bill 3718 (which was signed into law just two years ago), prevents criminal juvenile defendants who are 15 years old from automatically being transferred into the adult system and limits the transfer of minors aged 16 and 17 to only those accused of committing very serious crimes (such as first-degree murder, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated vehicular hijacking, etc.).

How Does the Juvenile Justice System Differ From the Adult System?

The juvenile justice system differs from the adult system in a number of important ways including the following:

  • In the juvenile system defendants are required to be represented by an attorney,
  • Sentencing in the adult system generally focuses on punishment while sentencing in the juvenile system predominantly focuses on rehabilitation,
  • In the juvenile system defendants are not afforded the right to a public trial by jury, and
  • Juvenile adjudication hearings are generally much more informal than criminal trials conducted in adult court.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If you are a minor who has recently had a run-in with the law, or if you are the parent or legal guardian of such a minor, feel free to contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley with any questions that you may have. Attorney Chris Cosley is an experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile crime attorney who is committed to protecting the rights and futures of his juvenile clients. Contact the office today for help.

Source:

http://www.kwqc.com/content/news/TV-6-Investigates-Illinois-changed-juvenile-transfer-law-449512603.html

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