Juvenile Sentence in Utah Armed Robbery Case Too Severe, Says Father

Utah Juvenile Armed Robbery
Photo: Victor

In what came as a surprise to many, a juvenile in Ogden, Utah, was recently sentenced to two, 1-to-15 year prison terms for his part in an armed robbery.

A Minor Score Equals Major Time

The armed robbery and subsequent arrest in question took place last fall. Sixteen-year-old Cooper Van Huizen was accused of being involved with four others who entered a home on November 4 in Roy, Utah, and proceeded to hold two people at gunpoint in the basement, demanding drugs and money. In the end, it was reported that the group left with a bag of marijuana, a cellphone, wallet and $10.

Cooper’s father, Marc Van Huizen, urged his son to take a deal where he would plead guilty to two reduced charges of second-degree felony robbery. Van Huizen believed the plea deal meant Cooper would just get a 180-day jail sentence which would allow him to continue attending school during the day and that upon completion of probation, the charges would be reduced to class A misdemeanors. Van Huizen was shocked when 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones handed down the severe sentence. He said the judge seemed “very upset” and disallowed the plea agreement.

A Question of Balance

While Marc Van Huizen claims there was insufficient evidence proving that his son was an instigator in the incident or that he was even armed, most judges will examine certain aggravating circumstances, such as being complicit with others who were armed, and weigh them against mitigating circumstances, such as the facts that Van Huizen is still a minor and it is his first offense.

In addition, judges will often consider what the public perception will be if they let an offender off easy. Many judges believe it is their duty to make examples of certain juvenile offenders in order to scare their peers. If your child has been accused of armed robbery or any other crime, it’s very important that you seek the help of a respected and experienced Utah juvenile defense attorney to avoid finding yourself in a similar situation as the Van Huizens.

Juvenile Opens Fire in School, Wounding Three People

Photo: Isaac Tovar

A 12-year-old juvenile in New Mexico was taken into custody after he opened fire at the middle school he attended, wounding three people–two of whom were students.

What Happened?

Authorities believe the juvenile boy planned the attack; they also think he warned some students that there would be an attack. Two students were wounded during the shooting, one critically. An adult also received some type of injury.

As Bad As it Was, It Could Have Been Worse

Fortunately, the situation didn’t end up as bad as it might have had there been more shooters or had the juvenile had more gun ammunition. A judge ordered that the juvenile receive an evaluation and mental health treatment. Officials are still looking for a motive behind the attack.

There are many ways parents can help their children these days, but some areas are tough, including when kids have to deal with bullies, sex issues and mental health problems. Parents can be on the lookout for difficult situations but can’t always prevent serious problems.

Talk to a Utah Juvenile Defense Attorney About Your Child’s Legal Dilemma

Children who get into legal trouble, no matter what type, need and deserve competent, experienced legal help. Talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney today if you have a child who’s considered delinquent for any reason.

There’s no need to wait for the worst possible scenario to occur. Get your son or daughter the expert legal defense they need.

14-Year-Old Sentenced to Adult Prison for Murders

Photo: Brian Turner

A 14-year-old Pennsylvania boy has been sentenced to adult prison for his role in the murders of his grandparents over a year ago.

The young man’s attorney had tried to keep his case in juvenile court to no avail. The jury selection process was underway when the boy pleaded guilty to committing both murders when he was just 13-years-old.

Why Commit Murder?

He allegedly was upset with his grandparents when he decided to shoot them. He first killed his grandmother, then his grandfather after he returned home. There may have been drugs and/or alcohol in the boy’s system at the time according to his parents, but that wasn’t confirmed.

Death Penalty Not on the Table

Because of the teen’s age, he wasn’t eligible for the death penalty, but prosecutors were going to try him for two counts of first degree murder–which could have seen him in prison for life without the possibility of parole.

Instead, the boy pleaded guilty to two counts of third degree murder, which in Pennsylvania means that the murders were not premeditated but were with malice. He will now be in adult prison for at least 33 ½ years, at which time he will be eligible for parole.

Adult Prison Not Usually the First–or Best–Option

In Utah, teens’ cases are rarely transferred to adult court, but it has been known to happen. Usually, teenagers are only sentenced to adult prison if it’s believed that they will be a threat to the general public. Of course, it’s unpleasant to think what potential threats face kids in adult prison.

Talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney today if your son or daughter is in legal trouble. Don’t wait until your child’s case has been decided by others. Get them the help they need right away.

Utah Juvenile and Aggravated Robbery Investigation

Photo: Andrew Kitzmiller

A 17-year-old juvenile was recently booked into juvenile detention for allegedly being involved in a string of armed robberies throughout Weber County.

The boy supposedly participated in three different armed robberies with three other men, all adults. The robberies occurred at two convenience stores and one fast food restaurant; police noted that guns and knives were displayed at each scene.

Juvenile Court or Adult Court?

It’s not known at this time if the juvenile will be treated as such or as an adult. Adults who are found guilty of aggravated robbery may be sentenced to a minimum of five years to as much as life in prison, since this crime is a first degree felony.

Definition of Aggravated Robbery

A person commits aggravated robbery (whether an adult or juvenile) if he:

* uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon
* causes serious bodily injury upon another person
* takes or attempts to take a working automobile

while committing a robbery.

Juveniles frequently have a good chance of rehabilitation which is why they are generally charged with an “offense” as opposed to a “crime.” However, you never know when a judge will certify a juvenile as an adult and suddenly a 17-year-old finds himself sentenced to life in prison.

Help Your Child Today

That’s why it’s in a child’s best interest to be represented by an experienced Utah juvenile defense attorney regardless of the charges against him. Don’t let anyone convince you that your son or daughter doesn’t need their own attorney.

Make sure your child has the best chance of success in any legal matter. Talk to a top Utah juvenile defense attorney today.

Teen Receives Life Sentence for Murder

A teen who was found guilty of murder recently received a life sentence from a Colorado judge.

The Life Sentence

The now 18-year-old was a juvenile at the time of the crime, but that didn’t stop the judge from handing down the stiffest penalty available to him. Because the teen was a juvenile when the murder occurred, he normally would have been eligible for parole after 40 years. In this situation, however, the judge added 86 years for other crimes the teen was convicted of. Those additional sentences will keep him in prison for the rest of his life.

Was the Life Sentence Doled Out Appropriately?

The teen’s defense attorneys tried to convince the judge that state law required him to allow the young man to be eligible for parole after the mandatory years had been served, but the judge didn’t concede their argument.

Even though Colorado has the death penalty, a person convicted of committing this type of crime when he was a juvenile at the time cannot be sentenced to death. The defense team in this situation will undoubtedly appeal the judge’s decision.

Just because a judge comes to a certain resolution, doesn’t always mean it’s the right choice. That’s why you want to make sure your child is represented by a top Utah juvenile defense attorney regardless of the offense or crime he’s been charged with.

Get Your Child the Expert Legal Help He Needs

The right attorney can help make sure that your child is treated fairly and that his case is handled appropriately. If your child has been charged with any offense, it’s in his best interest to talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney right away. Make that important call today.