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Juvenile Justice in Broward County

A Miramar high school student has been arrested for battery early this morning after an incident with a teacher recorded on video. The teen was booked at the Fort Lauderdale detention center for juveniles, but it was not clear if he would remain detained. Law enforcement officials say that when the bell rang this morning for students to go to their first period classes, the student in question remained in the hallway. When confronted by a teacher who apparently asked him leave the hall and go to his classroom, the student refused. Instead, his response to being told to go to class the second time was to “chest bump” the teacher, who is also male. School officials and police viewed the videotape before making the decision to arrest the teen, who is a junior at Everglades High School.

According to Fort Lauderdale juvenile lawyer William Moore, Florida punishes juvenile offenders harshly compared to other states. Many juveniles are “certified” as adults, so that they face adult criminal courts and adult sentencing rather than appearing in the juvenile justice system. Many anti-crime advocates have campaigned against light sentencing for teenaged (and sometimes younger) offenders on the basis that if a young person can “do the crime,” then he should be prepared to “do the time” in an adult sentencing scheme. Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Moore says that the numbers of juveniles certified as adults in Florida has been rising consistently and that this pattern likely reflects public sentiment against youth crime. Proponents of keeping juvenile delinquents in the juvenile system argue that it is more well-suited to their needs and can focus more on rehabilitation than the adult criminal justice system, which is more retributive. Additionally, since scientific studies have shown that teens are less able to overcome impulses than adults, they believe that juveniles should not be punished like adults because they are not as culpable for their offenses. Proponents also note that major factors for juvenile delinquency include poverty and parental supervision, which are beyond the control of the offenders.

Despite the tough Florida laws, the standards for how states treat youth offenders has evolved significantly. Advances in juvenile delinquents’ rights with regard to the death penalty have come only recently, but nonetheless represent a dramatic shift in American jurisprudence. Until just a few years ago, several southern states still allowed minors who were at least 16 years of age at the time of the offense to be executed for their crime. The United States Supreme Court rejected capital punishment for 16 and 17-year-olds in a landmark decision in 2005. In 1988, the Court abolished the death penalty for juveniles under the age of 16. Now, the only countries that routinely execute minors are Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.

Below is a video, which was not made or endorsed by Broward criminal lawyer Moore, on the consequences of capital punishment and life sentences for juvenile offenders:

Broward criminal lawyer William Moore has experience in all kinds of criminal defense, including sex crimes and DUI. A conviction for a felony or misdemeanor can have consequences on your freedom, your employment, and your personal life. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in the south Florida area, contact William Moore, P.A., which has offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.

This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice nor as implied representation of any person.

Article contributed by Mallory Shipman, Esq.

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