The juvenile justice system is designed to handle minors who have been accused of committing crimes. While the adult criminal justice system is focused on punishing offenders, the juvenile system concentrates on rehabilitating them. However, when a minor is accused of committing certain serious crimes such as attempted murder, he or she may be charged as an adult, which means being subject to more severe penalties.
A 14-year-old boy who has admitted to beating his grandmother with a hammer and has been charged as an adult knows the seriousness of this distinction. Baltimore police claim the ninth-grade boy, who has not been in trouble with the law before, grew angry with his grandmother when he was getting ready for school one morning. He apparently said he attacked her and called 911 shortly after.
In an interview at the Juvenile Justice Center, the boy allegedly explained that while he was eating breakfast one morning, he began thinking about the way his grandmother treated him. His anger grew until he went to get a hammer and hit her in the head twice while she was sleeping. He said the older woman attempted to get away, but she fell onto the floor. Then, he apparently confessed that he struck her with a closed fist several times.
A few minutes later, the boy phoned 911 for help. The police reported the 66-year-old woman was in critical condition.
The boy, who will turn 15 in the fall, was charged not as a minor but as an adult in this attack. He was charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and possessing a dangerous weapon with intent to cause injury.
When such a young person is accused of committing a serious crime, it is important to carefully examine all aspects of the situation. Did the young offender have problems in school? Does he or she have a history of violence? Does he or she have an undiagnosed psychiatric condition? An experienced defense attorney can look at all angles to best help the accused.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Boy, 14, charged as adult in hammer attack on grandmother,” Justin Fenton, 1 April 2011