Skirmish between Groups of Teens in West Jordan Ends in Shooting

A skirmish between two groups of teens in West Jordan ended in a shooting last week and felony charges could be pending for one young juvenile.

Fight escalates

Photo by: Peter Anderson

One teen was shot and another arrested after a fight broke out between two groups of teens in West Jordan last Sunday evening. The incident, which is said to not be gang-related started for unknown reasons but quickly escalated to rocks being thrown and a gun being fired. One teen was shot multiple times and luckily did not have life-threatening injuries. Another teen who was said to be a 14 year old male was arrested and could face serious charges for shooting the other teen.

Aggravated Assault or worse

Authorities have not released what charges the teen is facing however it is possible the teen could face felony charges for either aggravated assault or a more serious offense such as attempted murder. Aggravated assault is defined by Section 76-5-103 as “conduct that is:

i. an attempt, with unlawful force or violence, to do bodily injury to another;
ii. a threat, accompanied by a show of immediate force or violence, to do bodily injury to another; or
iii. an act, committed with unlawful force of violence, that causes bodily injury to another or creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to another; and

. . .that includes the use of:
i. a dangerous weapon . . . ;
ii. any act that impedes the breathing or the circulation of blood of another person. . . ;
iii. other means or force likely to produce death or serious bodily injury.

Aggravated assault is punishable as a third degree felony unless the victim is seriously injured or loses consciousness during the assault at which point the penalty faced would then be a second degree felony.

Increased charges if proven intent

If the teen pulling the trigger had better aim or had the victim been a foot more to one side, the shooting could have been deadly. Some may wonder if the risk of death from the crime would then constitute attempted murder, a first degree felony. Although shooting another individual is likely to cause death, it should not be considered attempted murder unless the shooter pulled the trigger with the intent to kill as stated in section 76-4-101. This pivotal question of intent is likely to arise during legal proceedings however which could dramatically increase the fine and prison term a defendant is facing. Anyone facing aggravated assault charges are encouraged to seek experienced legal representation immediately.

19 Year Old Arrested a Second Time after Escape from Police Custody

A 19 year old Utah teen was arrested a second time after he managed an escape from police custody.

Houdini

Photo by: Victor

19 year old Noah Randall Cook was apprehended by Saratoga Springs police after a two day hunt for the teen who had somehow managed to slip away during an arrest. Cook’s original arrest came after he had confronted a female victim in a supermarket, assaulting her while preventing her from leaving or calling for help. Police responded and handcuffed Cook, placing him in the back of the police car. Once at the station, a handcuffed and shackled Cook was able to wriggle his way free and make a break for temporary freedom. After evading police for two days, Cook was located and arrested for a variety of charges including escape from police custody.

Escape from police custody

Utah Code 76-8-309 states: “A prisoner is guilty of escape [from police custody] if the prisoner leaves official custody without lawful authorization. . . Escape under this subsection is a third degree felony”. That section goes on to explain the penalties are increased to a second degree felony if the individual escapes a state prison. The penalties are increased to a first degree felony if the prison is found guilty of aggravated escape, in which a dangerous weapon is used or bodily injury to another occurs.

Prolonging the inevitable

For whatever reason Cook chose to assault and terrify the female victim in Walmart, running from his poor choices was just adding more trouble to his case. Beyond the charges for his actions at the supermarket, Cook is now facing an additional felony charge for his escape from police custody and he may be considered a flight risk, reducing his changes at being able to post bail. For teens and young adults caught breaking the law, please do not resist an arrest. Instead exercise your right to request the aid of an attorney.

18 Year old Arrested for Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor

An 18 year old Ogden Utah teen was arrested and booked into Elko County Jail in Nevada for having sexual activity with a minor under 14 years old.

Teen younger than 14 years old

Photo by: CGP Grey

18 year old Nathanial Sweat of Ogden was arrested and detained by Elko County Sherriff’s Office in Nevada after the mother of a 14 year old West Wendover girl discovered the two teens were dating and had been intimate on at least one occasion. Although the younger teen involved was 14 when her mom discovered the relationship between the two, the sexual activity presumably took place when the teen was younger than 14 years old as Sweat severe consequences under Nevada Law. According to Nevada Statute 201.230, an 18 year old having sexual relations with a 14 year old is considered a category B felony and is punishable by one to 10 years in prison. If an 18 year old has sexual relations with a teen younger than 14 years old, it is considered a category A felony “and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 10 years has been served . . . “

Utah law

Photo by: Francois Marcotte

Utah law differs greatly from Nevada regarding sexual relations with a teen who is 14 or 15 and there is also added leniency depending on the age gap of the two involved. Utah Code 76-5-401 states explains that if an adult commits unlawful sexual activity with a minor who is 14 years old , they will face a third degree felony which is punishable in the state of Utah with up to five years in prison. That statute notes however, that if “the defendant is less than four years older than the minor at the time the sexual activity occurred, the offense is a class B misdemeanor” which is punishable by up 6 months in jail at the most. Now if the minor is younger than 14, say 13 and a half, just as with Nevada law, that charge quickly escalates. In Utah it is considered rape of a child. According to Utah Code 76-5-402.1, there may still be some leniency for adult teenagers however. “If:

Photo by: Ben Phillips

i. It is a first time offense for the defendant . . . ;
ii. The defendant was younger than 21 years of age at the time of the offense; and
iii. The court finds that a lesser term . . . is in the interests of justice . . . “

With these considerations, “the court may impose a term of imprisonment of not less than;

i. 15 years and while may be for life;
ii. 10 years and which may be for life; or
iii. Six years and which may be for life.”

Prepare for adulthood, learn the law

Teens who have barely graduated to being an “adult” may be stunned at some of the things that can land them in jail. Even more surprising are how the laws can differ greatly with the age of those involved or where the crimes take place. For any questions regarding Utah law and how it applies to teens or “teen adults”, contact a defense attorney that handles both juvenile as well as adult cases.

Unlawful Sexual Activity among Teens

Teens who engage in sexual relations with other teens may feel they are legal to do so as long as both parties consent, however sometimes their relations are considered unlawful sexual activity.

Too young for consent

Photo by: Leo Hidalgo

Unlawful sexual activity among teens does not include instances or rape, sodomy or sexual abuse that carries severe penalties for the offender. Unlawful adolescent sexual activity are sexual relations where both parties give consent yet one or more parties are not at an age old enough for consent. According to the Salt Lake County Division of Youth Services, “teens and youth of a certain age range CANNOT consent to sexual activities. Even if a youth gave consent, they are not permitted by law to do so in certain circumstances – and anyone having sexual contact with them could face criminal charges. This rule still applies even if the contact was by a teen or youth with another teenager or youth.” So how young is too young for teens to engage in sexual activity and what are the punishments?

Felony charges

Unlawful sexual activity among teens is considered a felony if there is a major age difference between the consenting teens involved. According to Utah Code 76-5-401.3, teens face third degree felony charges if they are:

• 17 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with another teen 12 or 13 years old, a four to five year age difference;
• 16 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen who is 12 years old, a four year age difference.

Close in age, still against the law

The closer in age the teens who are involved, the less severe the punishments. This law varies slightly if the younger of the teens is a 12 or 13 year old who has barely reached adolescence. Statute 76-5-401.3 states, teens face class A misdemeanor charges if they are:

• 16 years old engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen who is 13 years old, a three year age difference; or
• 14 to 15 and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a 12 year old, a two to three year age difference.
Teens may be charged with class B misdemeanor if they are:
• 17 and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with another teen who is 14 years old, a three year age difference;
• 15 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen 13 years old, a two year age difference.

Even teens who are really close in age or the same age face charges for having sexual relations. The punishment is a class C misdemeanor if the teen is:

• 14 years old and engaging in sexual activity with a teen who is 12 to 13 years old, a one to two year age difference ; and also
• 12 or 13 and engaging in sexual activity with another teen who is 12 or 13, the same exact age.

Almost adults

The laws regarding sexual activity among teens changes once the younger party involved reaches the age of 16 or 17 years of age. 16 and 17 year old do not face charges for sexual relations with other teens their same age. If the other party is an adult, it may still be legal depending on the age difference. Utah Code 76-5-401.2 explains that “a person commits unlawful sexual conduct with a [16 or 17 year old] if [the person] is:

• seven or more years older but less than 10 years older than the minor (…) and the person knew or reasonably should have known the age of the minor;
• 10 or more years older than the minor (…); or
• Holds a relationship of special trust as an adult teacher, employee, or volunteer (…)”.

This statute goes on to note sexual conduct includes any sexual act, inappropriate touching, or indecent liberties with the minor. Charges for the adult involved range from a class A misdemeanor to a third degree felony.

Not just old fashioned thinking

Teens who wish to engage in sexual activity should be warned that refraining from such is not just old fashioned thinking, it is the law. Those who face charges for unlawful sexual conduct should consult with a juvenile defense attorney.

Robbery Plan in Utah Results in First-Degree Felony Charges for Teens

A teen who made a plan to kidnap and rob his old roommate in Utah is now sitting in the Salt Lake County Jail charged with multiple offenses including first-degree felony charges.

Robbery and a beating

Photo by: Geoffrey Fairchild

18 year old Eduardo Michael Miranda-Carmona who the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office list as being a citizen of Mexico got together with a few friends and planned a robbery of someone who used to be his roommate. The roommate was jumped while leaving work, stabbed, tied up, and thrown into the back of a vehicle. There Miranda-Carmona and friends robbed the man at gunpoint, used his credit cards illegally, and dumped him to be found by a Utah policeman on patrol.

First, Second, and Third-degree felonies

The man who was robbed knew Miranda-Carmona as the two were old coworkers and roommates. This, along with security footage likely helped detectives to quickly identify and arrest Miranda-Carmona. He is currently in the Salt Lake County Jail with multiple felony and misdemeanor charges including:

• First-degree aggravated robbery with a weapon (76-6-302);

• First-degree aggravated kidnapping (76-5-302);

• Second-degree aggravated assault resulting in bodily injury (76-5-103);

• Third-degree unlawful acquisition or possession of a finance card (76-6-506.3); as well as

• Contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a class B misdemeanor.

Three other teens involved

Over the next few weeks, police were able to identify and arrest 19 year old John Ewing as well as two under age juveniles in the aggravated robbery case. With multiple felony offenses including two first degree felony charges, all four teens are looking at several years to life in prison for what appears to be a vindictive and maybe financially motivated crime, coordinated by one.