A local crime story from the Tampa Bay Times that brings up some interesting questions about juvenile crime versus adult criminal charges.
16 year-old A. Peterson made his first appearance in the Pinellas county juvenile court yesterday following his arrest for attacking an 83-year-old man. He stood straight while the judge explained his charge, an aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. The teen turned himself in to the police and admitted to stealing the man’s car but denied attacking him.
He was one of three people charged in the attack of the man. His 13-year-old brother was charged with grand theft. A 15-year-old female friend of the brothers was also charged with a battery on an elderly victim.
Per the police report, the two Saint Petersburg brothers and the girl attacked the elderly man Tuesday morning as he was in his car at his Pinellas Park condo. The senior citizen fought back and says the oldest brother slashed his arm with a knife. The teens made off with his keys and his car was stolen that night while he slept. There were multiple bikes that were found at the scene of the crime.
The elderly man has some bad injuries from the battery including a fractured cheek bone, multiple stab wounds and a bruised rib. For his part, the man is glad the teens are all in jail as he felt he could have been killed!
At the juvenile hearing, the boy’s father and grandmother were in attendance and expressed remorse for the victim’s injuries.
The juvenile judge assigned a public defender to the defendant and would not release him from custody. Rather, she set another court date.
It seems very likely that both the 13 and the 15-year-old will be charged for juvenile crimes and not charged as an adult. This means that any sentence they receive will be much lighter then adult sanctions. In addition by staying in the juvenile system, the teens will be more likely to get the cases dismissed.
The bigger question is what happens to the oldest teen. If he stays in the juvenile court, he cannot be held past the age of 21. As the charge is serious and the teen is older, there is a legitimate chance that the Pinellas State Attorney’s office may file this charge as an adult.
As an adult, robbery with a deadly weapon, Florida Statute 812.12(2)(a) is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison or life (“PBL”) if certain criteria is met.
The next few weeks will be very important to this young man, as decisions that could put him in prison for life will be made.
Have you or a loved one been arrested for robbery or a juvenile offense? Then call the Clearwater defense attorneys at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. today! These former prosecutors are experienced trial attorneys.
The lawyers of Blake & Dorsten, P.A. handle all criminal and personal injury cases throughout the Gulf Coast of Florida including Saint Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Tampa Bay, Clearwater, Largo, Seminole, Pasadena, Tarpon, St. Pete Beach, Kenneth City and Sarasota.
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