If you follow the news, there is a good chance that you have seen cases where children are charged as adults for committing crimes. In Florida, the previous trend was an increase in children being charged as adults for the crimes that they had committed. However, it appears that fewer and fewer minors are being charged as adults in Florida in 2021. Regardless of your philosophical beliefs regarding adult charges for a child’s crimes, the fact remains that these charges have seen a decrease in the past year. This article will discuss the background of the phenomenon and analyze why these charges are decreasing in Florida.
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Whether you are a minor or an adult charged with an offense in Florida, the legal process can be daunting. Between hearings, briefs, and other associated legal events, it can be challenging to keep track of it all on your own. In these circumstances, it is vital to have an experienced lawyer on your side to navigate these legal proceedings. Having an experienced attorney representing you in your case can mean the difference between success or failure in your case. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in Florida, Koberlein Law Offices are here to help. The attorneys at Koberlein Law Offices understand the legal process and will help you navigate these proceedings to protect your rights and interests and achieve the best result for you in your case. For more information or to schedule your initial case consultation, call us or visit us at our website, www.klo-attorneys.com.
Florida And Children Charged As Adults
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Florida prosecutes more children as adults than any other state in the country. However, in 2021, juvenile-to-adult criminal cases have decreased dramatically compared to previous years. Criminal justice reform advocates and government officials have tried to understand the causes for the lower charging and conviction rates. To understand the decrease in adult charges for children, it is essential to know how these kinds of charges are brought against juvenile offenders.
Process To Charge A Child As An Adult In Florida
In Florida, there are two ways that a child can be tried as an adult: by motion or by direct file. These methods of charging a juvenile in adult court are slightly different but achieve the same result. Florida regulators and advocates monitor the number of cases involving these methods.
The minor must be first charged in juvenile Court to charge a minor as an adult through a motion. If the prosecutor wants to charge and try the child as an adult, the prosecutor must submit a motion to the Court to transfer the case to adult court. Statewide in 2021, Florida has seen a 39% decrease in these transfers as opposed to the 2015-2016 and 2019-2020 fiscal years. In Florida’s First Circuit Court, there has been a 35% decrease in these transfers. Escambia County—the Florida county with the most juvenile case transfers—has seen a 32% decrease in transfers during the same time periods.
The other method of charging a minor’s case in adult court is by direct file. How this process occurs is in the name. When a prosecutor pursues a direct file to charge a minor as an adult, the prosecutor skips juvenile Court altogether and files charges against the child in the adult court. Florida’s First Circuit has seen a substantial decrease in cases concerning this kind of transfer. For example, in 2016, there were 704 direct files in the First Circuit Court alone. As of November 23, 2021, that number has dropped to 131. State officials and criminal justice reform advocates have begun to determine the causes for these particular changes.
Why Are So Many Children Tried As Adults In Florida?
The cause or causes behind the excessive rates of juvenile-to-adult charges and convictions is complex. Bowden Madden, Florida’s newly appointed state attorney, attributes the high cases rates to charging philosophies. Madden recounts her predecessor’s practices while state attorney. While in the position, Madden’s predecessor had a reputation for trying many children as adults in Court.
Why Has The Rate Of Children-As-Adult Charged Cases Dropped In Florida?
There is no one factor causing the changes in juvenile to adult cases. Some of these factors are not accounted for because the phenomenon is relatively recent. However, advocates and officials have identified a few factors leading to decreased child-to-adult convictions. One of the most substantial changes has been in state leadership. Madden believes that trying a child as an adult in Court is the harshest penalty and should only be used as a last resort. Reform advocates suggest that the decrease results from stress on the court system from COVID-19, which has delayed cases substantially. While it is unclear why the reduction is happening, advocates are optimistic about the change, cautioning that it is too soon to celebrate.
Hiring A Criminal Defense Attorney In Florida
If you or your child has been charged with a criminal offense in Florida, you must act quickly to protect your rights and interests. To best protect your rights and interests, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. An experienced criminal defense attorney knows how to navigate the criminal justice system to help you achieve the best result. The attorneys at Koberlein Law Offices have 70 years of combined criminal defense experience and are ready to fight for you. To learn more or to schedule your initial case consultation, call Koberlein Law Offices toll-free at 877.556.2889 or visit us at our website.