Here in Maryland, charging a minor as an adult has always been a somewhat controversial issue. On the one hand, some people believe that the minor’s maturity makes him or her an adequate candidate for an adult sentence. Others, however, claim that minors should not be sentenced to punishments that were designed for adults, except in very rare and specific situations.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always clear whether a suspect should be charged as an adult or as a child. Whether it’s assault, sex crime, weapons charges or any other offense, the issue is often left to the best judgment of the courts. Often, one of the roles of a defense attorney is to represent the interests of the accused minor in this situation, to see that he or she is tried in juvenile court rather than face harsher punishments in the adult system.
These are issues faced by a Maryland teenager who was recently accused of armed robbery. The 16-year-old boy, along with an 18-year-old friend, apparently negotiated the purchase of a pair of sneakers using Facebook messages. The pair went to go buy the sneakers from the seller at a predetermined location.
Police say that when the pair met the sneaker seller, they took the shoes and ran. The seller gave chase, but stopped when one of the teenagers allegedly pointed a gun at him.
Police say they used Facebook to locate the two teenagers. Both were arrested and charged with armed robbery. Though the 16-year-old is still a minor, authorities say he is to be charged as an adult. As such, his name has already been released to the public through several media sources.
WJZ-TV, “2 Teens Arrested After Using Facebook To Set Up An Armed Robbery” Ron Matz, Nov. 28, 2013