The case of a Virginia teenager sentenced to six life terms in prison in 2006 related to a conviction involving charges for armed robbery was getting the attention of lawmakers and civil rights advocates who said the sentence was far too harsh for someone so young. The minor arrested and sentenced for the crime was only 15-years-old when he reportedly accompanied two 18-year-old gang members and allegedly robbed a house party. There were 12 victims involved in the incident. No shots were fired, and none of the victims suffered injury. After facing trial, the teenager was sentenced on 49 felony counts to six life-in-prison terms plus an additional 118 years.
Two friends from Arlington, Virginia were outside on a summer day practicing a skateboard stunt on June 4, 2013 that resulted in the death of one young individual. A 17-year-old drove his truck down the street while his 18-year-old friend clung to the side of the truck with his feet planted on his skateboard. The skateboarder transitioned from the side of the vehicle to the rear and the 17-year-old driver increased his speed.
Law enforcement personnel recently took a 14-year-old middle school student from Henrico County into custody after she was accused of attempting to sell marijuana. The minor arrested was charged with the distribution and sale of drugs at school by a school resource officer. She was later released to the care of her father. Police did not specify where the girl got the drugs or the amount of drugs in her possession.Some parents believe the incident at the middle school, located in Varina, is exemplary of growing drug problems among teens and even middle-school-aged children. One parent noted that the drug problem seems to be worsening, and younger and younger children are becoming involved. In a separate incident, a 13-year-old boy at a Chesterfield middle school was also accused of bringing marijuana to school within the same week.
After a Portsmouth man's SUV was stolen on Feb. 19 from his home on Forresthills Drive, he wondered if he would ever see it again. Only two days later, he saw four teens driving his vehicle as he drove through Suffolk and called police to have each minor arrested as he tracked the SUV through the vicinity. When they stopped at a financial institution, police took the teens into custody. During the original Feb. 19 break-in, the man reported more than the SUV stolen from his residence. The individuals who committed the burglary also stole cash and computer equipment in addition to his vehicle. His property was also damaged during the course of the robbery.
Sometimes in trying to send a message, courts and prosecutors go a little overboard. By going beyond what is reasonable does not always result in curbing behavior or improving those we seek to rehabilitate; sometimes it causes detrimental damage to those we realize need the most help.
Parents may have difficulty determining how to proceed when a child is accused of a juvenile offense. Many teens are charged with underage drinking offenses in Virginia, and the long-term consequences of such an offense may not be clear at the time. However, many juveniles are hauled into the justice system on a wide variety of other types of allegations.
Parents, teachers and other school officials often face choices when deciding to discipline a child for the child's use of judgment in a given situation. Schools often have policies on disciplinary matters. Officials at John Yeates Middle School in Suffolk, New Jersey chose to invoke disciplinary measures last week, after the school's principle claimed that an 11-year-old child was carrying a carved wooden object in his backpack on the school bus. The boy was suspended from school. Officials also recommended that the boy be expelled under a disciplinary policy concerning weapons.
Issues surrounding school bullying have been on the radar for some time. October is known as National Bullying Prevention Month. School officials in Virginia say that everyone has a role in preventing bullying, according to WSET -TV. Sources say that teasing may be common in schools, but teasing can evolve into full-fledged bullying, which can harm the victim of the school bullying.
An alleged group attack on two Virginia reports in April has resulted in another charge dropped against a Virginia teen in juvenile court. Thursday a teen appeared in court and had a serious felony offense dropped. The teen pled to a separate misdemeanor charge.
A 13-year-old boy accused of killing a 12-year-old girl in January pled guilty to one count of manslaughter in July. He was scheduled to be sentenced on the manslaughter charge in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in late August. However, the juvenile defense and prosecutors agreed to have the sentencing delayed until September 19.