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Archive for the ‘juvenile court’ tag

New Bill Could Lead to More Cases Tried in Juvenile Court

June 13th, 2018 at 4:18 pm

juvenile court, juvenile crimes, juvenile incarceration, probation, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneyEveryone makes mistakes, but minors and young adults are prone to doing so because they are learning and developing. Of course, mistakes often have consequences, but they should not alter the course of a person’s life.

A new bill introduced by State Representative Laura Fine would let judges decide if misdemeanor cases of 18, 19, and 20-year-olds could be tried in juvenile court, rather than adult court, according to WSIL-TV.

Rep. Fine stated the bill was introduced to focus on misdemeanors to “give kids who make a mistake a second chance.” Science tells us that the brain is not fully developed until around the age of 26. Therefore, a young adult might not be in complete control for his or her crimes. The purpose is to not excuse criminal behavior, but to give the young adult the chance to rehabilitate through juvenile court rather than face the harsher penalties imposed in regular court.

Support for the Bill

This bill has a lot of support from groups like the Americans Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Illinois Parent Teachers Associations. These groups claim that younger adults (18-20) are likely to react to certain situations like a teenager. These situations include potential threats, stressful situations, or other emotional situations.

Critics of the Bill

With support also comes opposition. The groups that represent the state’s attorneys, probation officers, and detention officers think trying certain cases in juvenile court is not wise. Their argument is that at the age of 18, a person is able to do many “adult” things, such as vote, serve in the military, etc. Other concerns lie with the costs that might be associated with this change in law. More people who are charged, and subsequently convicted, of misdemeanors equates to more people in beds at juvenile centers, which could have incalculable costs. Finally, there is concern that this bill could be a slippery slope for treating adults as children.

The bill passed through a committee and is currently sitting in the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration.

While this bill is not yet law, and could potentially never become law, it brings about an interesting discussion regarding juvenile crime. Individuals need to be held accountable for their crimes, but juveniles and young adults present a fierce debate.

Juvenile crimes have punishments that involve both incarceration and non-incarceration. Incarceration can range from house arrest to adult jail or prison time for more serious offenses. Non-incarceration options include anything from a verbal warning to probation.

We Can Help You Today

If you have been charged with a juvenile crime, you need an attorney who is looking out for your best interests. Skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley is here to help. Attorney Cosley understands that kids make mistakes and is committed to getting the juvenile the best possible outcome.


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.


Minorities Affected by Illinois Juvenile Law

May 20th, 2014 at 4:12 pm

juvenile offense, minorities and crime, Chicago juvenile crime lawyer, repeat offender, pleading guilty, juvenile court, Illinois juvenile lawAccording to an article recently published, a study shows that the Illinois law, which required juveniles charged with certain serious crimes to be tried as adults, may be discriminatory.

The imposition of the law also takes away judges’ discretion in these cases while also increasing the likelihood that the same juveniles will become repeat offenders in the future, according to the study.

Juvenile Justice Initiative

As part of the study, the Initiative considered 257 juvenile cases heard in Cook County between 2010 and 2012, in which juveniles were charged as adults in keeping with the law. All but one of the cases involved a defendant who was considered a minority. Out of these juveniles, over half of those that were transferred ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charge in adult court, which would not have caused the case to be transferred out of juvenile court had they been originally charged with the lesser offense.

The conclusion of the study found that by transferring a juvenile case to adult court, the offender’s chances at rehabilitation are seriously diminished. Also, the juveniles instead spend their time in adult jail, which correlates to a higher risk for reoffending and taking part in a violent crime. One of the contributing factors to this is that juveniles involved in the adult court process can remain in prison for up to a year before their case is heard, while their counterparts who have pending cases in juvenile court may spend just a month or so in detention.

Future Legislation

As a result of the study’s findings, the Initiative is pointing to legislation that would amend the current Illinois law to avoid an automatic transfer of certain juvenile cases to adult court. Instead, the group wants to focus on legislation that would allow judges to exercise their discretion in determining which cases should be transferred in light of the circumstances and the individual defendant. Advocates tout the inherent advantages of having a judge, who is sitting in the best position to determine the circumstances of a person and a crime and make the decision to transfer a case, instead of a blanket approach instituted by the General Assembly.

Current Law

Illinois is not the only state to keep such a law on its books. The law was enacted in the early 1980s and requires juveniles between the ages of 15 and 17 years old to be automatically transferred to adult court when charged with serious offenses including murder, armed robbery, aggravated sexual assault, and aggravated battery with a firearm. Once a juvenile is tried as an adult, future charges will also be heard in adult court, no matter the severity of the offense.

Often, the problem is that juveniles are interrogated by officers without a lawyer present, are charged as an adult. They then plead guilty to a lesser charge as the result of bargaining. There is never an opportunity for the juvenile to be heard in court or have the case tried, which results in a situation in which the juvenile’s fate is essentially sealed at the point of arrest.

Criminal Defense Attorney

While some may consider the need for this change to be obvious, it may take a while to be put into practice if it approved at all. In the meantime, those charged with any criminal offense as a juvenile, but especially those who likely face a transfer to adult court, should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We serve clients in Cook County and the surrounding area.

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