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.

Utah High School Football Players and Hazing

Two Utah high school football players have been suspended from school following allegations of hazing. It’s possible that at least one other hazing incident occurred at the same school as well, but different kids may have been involved.

Photo: Parker Knight

Why Hazing is Illegal

Hazing is against the law in Utah. Hazing may be simply defined as the process of requiring someone to do strenuous, often humiliating tasks in order to become part of a group. Utah law states that hazing is can include:

• Endangering the mental or physical health or safety of someone else
• Involving brutality such as whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, bruising, exposure to the elements, etc.
• Requiring someone to eat any food or substance that could harm the individual
• Subjecting a person to activities that cause mental stress, extreme embarrassment, shame or humiliation

Additionally, a defendant in a hazing case cannot use the defense that a person (under 21) consented to participating in the hazing activity.

In adult court, a person charged with hazing can face anywhere from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony depending on the circumstances of the incident. Kids are normally adjudicated in juvenile court, but the consequences can be severe even in that court setting.

Kids Deserve Expert Legal Help

Some kids are going to make mistakes—the kind that land them in legal trouble. If your teen has been charged with any offense, talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney as soon as possible.

Errors in judgment don’t mean that a kid deserves to have the book thrown at him. Let an attorney help your child get the best possible outcome in his juvenile case. Call an experienced Utah juvenile defense attorney today.

Utah Juvenile Cases are Generally Considered Civil Proceedings

Except for traffic violations and a few other situations, Utah juvenile offenses are generally considered to be civil matters as opposed to criminal issues.

The only times a minor may be charged with a crime in Utah are in the following circumstances:

• Murder
• Aggravated murder
• Offenses that would be considered felonies if committed by an adult if the juvenile has previously been committed to a secure facility
• Felony violations of:
• Aggravated arson
• Aggravated assault with serious bodily injury
• Aggravated kidnapping
• Aggravated burglary
• Aggravated robbery
• Aggravated sexual assault
• Felony discharge of a firearm
• Attempted aggravated murder
• Attempted murder
• Traffic violations

Even though this may seem like a lengthy list, the majority of offenses committed by Utah juveniles don’t fall under these categories. Although wrong, many offenses are of a much more minor nature—things that kids can rebound from.

We have previously noted that Utah juvenile courts are theoretically designed to help rehabilitate kids who have committed offenses that might be serious but don’t require long-term, if any, detention/prison stays.

Help Your Child

In spite of the law’s best efforts, though, it is possible for good kids to have bad outcomes from a juvenile court. It’s always in your child’s interest to have him or her represented by an experienced Utah juvenile defense attorney.

If your child has committed any offense and is now is legal trouble, talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney today. Getting your son or daughter the help they need now may prevent further legal problems in the future.

Juveniles Admit Committing Arson in Utah

Three kids have admitted to committing arson in Utah at a Magna LDS church by setting hymnbooks on fire.

Photo: Samuel M. Livingston

The fire was first noticed by a passerby Monday morning. When fire officials arrived, the building was filled with smoke. It’s believed that the kids entered the church house through a door that was either broken or forced opened. Damages appear to be at least $500,000.

In addition to being charged with arson in Utah, the kids may be charged with additional crimes—including burglary.

Definition of Burglary

Burglary in Utah is defined as:

• Entering or remaining unlawfully in a building with the intent to commit a felony, theft, assault, lewdness, sexual battery, lewdness involving a child or voyeurism.

Burglary is a third degree felony unless committed in a residence, in which case it’s a second degree felony.

What is Arson?

Arson in Utah can be charged if a person uses fire or explosives to intentionally damage any property for the purposes of committing insurance fraud or any property belonging to someone else. If you commit arson and cause damages of $5000 or more, you will be charged with a second degree felony.

There are several other lesser charges for arson; most depend on the cost of damages and whether or not someone is injured. Aggravated arson in Utah occurs when someone sets fire to a residence or a car or structure when someone not involved in the arson is inside.

Most kids are charged with offenses in Utah juvenile court; under some circumstances they may have their case moved to adult court and suffer penalties usually reserved for those over 18.

Because you don’t know what will happen with your child’s case, it’s important to have a Utah juvenile defense attorney represent your son or daughter from the beginning. Kids deserve to have qualified legal representation, too, and need it as much as an adult. Talk to an experienced Utah juvenile defense attorney today.

Utah Soccer Player Charged with Homicide by Assault

A 17-year-old soccer player has been charged in a Utah juvenile court with homicide by assault following an incident where he allegedly punched a referee; the referee died several days after the supposed assault.

Photo: Shawn Rossi

The Salt Lake County district attorney is reportedly going to attempt to have the youth certified as an adult, thereby transferring the juvenile case to district court.

What is Homicide by Assault?

Under Utah law, homicide by assault occurs when

• A person causes the death of someone else (under circumstances that aren’t classified as aggravated murder, murder or manslaughter) while intentionally or knowingly attempting with unlawful force or violence, to do bodily injury to another.

Homicide by assault is a third degree felony. If a person is found guilty of a third degree felony in adult district court, he could possibly be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

On the other hand, being found guilty of a crime in juvenile court can come with entirely different consequences, some of which may include: detention, work hours, community service and/or fines.

What Will Happen?

Whether or not the case will be handed over to district court depends on the results of a certification hearing to be held in juvenile court. Many factors will be taken into account in that hearing, not the least of which may include the youth’s previous delinquency history (if any), his school record and a psychological evaluation.

What’s your opinion? Should a hot-headed juvenile be treated as an adult? If the juvenile is given adult status, will the punishment fit the crime? We’re certain there will be many points-of-view on these subjects.

Don’t think that your teen has to be charged with a serious crime to warrant the services of an experienced Utah juvenile defense attorney. Anytime a juvenile is charged with an offense, he deserves to have his own legal representation. Call a top Utah juvenile defense attorney today.