Youth Hunters in Utah

There are many youth hunters in Utah who join their families for traditional hunting trips. These kids may have grown up surrounded by older family members who have been hunting for years, but they and their parents may not know what is required for them to participate.

Hunting in Utah

Youth Hunters in Utah
Photo by: Bob ‘n’ Renee

Hunting is a big sport in Utah with many kids becoming involved fairly young. Fishing is common for beginners while many kids gradually move on to hunt small game and even larger game, cougar or bear as they get older. Although the State of Utah “encourage[es] Utah’s youth to hunt, fish, watch wildlife and participate in shooting sports” there are some guidelines that must be obeyed as well as education required before they can hunt in Utah.

Age requirements

According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, “In 2008, the Utah Legislature removed the minimum age requirement for hunting small game”. With adult supervision, all kids under the age of 15 are allowed to hunt duck, partridge, pheasant, turkey and waterfowl while those 12 or older may participate in big game, cougar and bear hunts.

Education and parental supervision

Not every child can pick up a rifle and head out hunting with their family. The child must be old enough to understand and complete a hunter education course first. One educated and registered, licensed youth hunters under the age of 15 must be supervised by an adult while hunting, no matter how experienced they are. Utah Code also states in 76-10-509 that older teens hunting alone must have permission from their parent or guardian to be in possession of a weapon and that firearm may not be a “handgun, ( . . . ) short barreled rifle, short barreled shotgun, or a fully automatic weapon” as described in section 76-10-509.4.

Duties of School Resource Officers in Utah

School resource officers have many duties related to their positions supervising education facilities throughout Utah. These obligations don’t always involve breaking up fights and keeping the school grounds drug and weapon free.

School Resource Officers
Photo by: Rescuenav

School resource officers A.K.A. school cops

School resource officers often get a bad rap patrolling the hallways of Utah schools almost as if their position is a type of demotion or security guard status. On the contrary, school cops are law enforcement officers who are not only responsible for ensuring that all activities in and around the school are lawful, but also for teaching and mentoring the youth they oversee.

Real police officers

Photo by: North Charlston
Photo by: North Charlston

School resource officers are regular police officers but who are specially contracted to work with the “local education agency” or LEA. As stated in Utah Code 53A-11-1604, school resource officers are to:

“(i) provide for and maintain a safe, healthy, and productive learning environment in a school;
(ii) act as a positive role model to students;
(iii) work to create a cooperative, proactive, and problem-solving partnership between law enforcement and the LEA;
(iv) emphasize the use of restorative approaches to address negative behavior; and
(v) at the request of the LEA, teach a vocational law enforcement class;”

Trained specifically to work with the youth

Photo by: West Midlands Police
Photo by: West Midlands Police

Being a school cop usually requires additional training beyond the police academy and field training programs. According to Utah Code 53A-11-1603, in order to best serve the schools and the students they serve, school resource officers may be specifically trained in:

“(a) childhood and adolescent development;
(b) responding age-appropriately to students;
(c) working with disabled students;
(d) techniques to de-escalate and resolve conflict;
(e) cultural awareness;
(f) restorative justice practices;
(g) identifying a student exposed to violence or trauma and referring the student to appropriate resources;
(h) student privacy rights;
(i) negative consequences associated with youth involvement in the juvenile and criminal justice systems;
(j) strategies to reduce juvenile justice involvement; and
(k) roles of and distinctions between a school resource officer and other school staff who help keep a school secure.”

Chose to work in a school setting

Photo by: John Taylor
Photo by: John Taylor

It is important to teach Utah children that school cops are sworn law enforcement officers and should be respected as such. Additionally, children should not fear their school resource officers. They should known them as someone who is passionate about education and is there to help the kids gain an education in a safe setting while being a liaison between the schools and the police department.

Youth Charged With Child Pornography

It seems that most kids have a cell phone by the time they are in middle school, but cell phones with open internet access put your youth at risk of being charged with Child Pornography.

Photo by: Carissa Rogers
Photo by: Carissa Rogers

Snapchat, Kik and Picture Messages

There are several apps that youth use to communicate with each other. Most of these apps have the ability to send picture messages. Snapchat, Kik, Facebook, and even regular text messaging are all avenues for youth to send pictures or videos to one another. The snare of child pornography is when the sent media contains inappropriate images.

No Privacy on Apps

Apps like Snapchat and Kik give youth the false security that the media they send is only available for the recipient to view for a few seconds. Unfortunately, anytime a picture is taken and sent via these apps, the picture is no longer in your child’s sole possession. Any image sent can be stored quickly on friend’s phones and shared publicly or privately with others.

What Constitutes Child Pornography?

According to Section 2256 of Title 18, United States Code, child pornography is defined as “any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age).” If a youth sends or forwards a naked or semi-naked suggestive picture of themselves, a friend, boyfriend/girlfriend or if they share a video of a sexual act being performed by a minor, that is by definition- child pornography.

Protect Youth from Themselves

Besides using parental controls that block internet and the ability to send and receive images, parents need to educate their youth about child pornography. Child Pornography is a second-degree felony that can come with a prison sentence of up to 30 years if your youth is charged as an adult. If your youth is already facing charges of child pornography, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.

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.