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Articles Posted in Juveniles

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Under Section 985.565, a child who is found to have perpetrated a Miami juvenile crime can be committed to the Juvenile Justice Department for treatment in an appropriate program or be put on juvenile probation as an alternative to going through adult court. Section 985.565(3) requires a pre-sentence investigation report to include a comments section prepared by the Department of Juvenile Justice, recommending whether it thinks the defendant is suitable for disposition as a juvenile or an adult. In a recent Florida appellate decision, the appellant challenged his sentence on the basis that his pre-sentence investigation report didn’t go into the Department of Juvenile Justice System’s recommendations.

The defendant, when he was 17, had been charged with lewd and lascivious battery. The prosecutor used its discretion under Florida Statute section 985.557(1)(b). and filed charges against the appellant as an adult. While the case was pending, he was charged with two counts of grand theft.

The defendant pled to the charges. The pre-sentence investigation report was prepared. He didn’t object to the information specified in that report at sentencing. Rather he disagreed and told the court that it looked like the person who prepared the report hadn’t spoken to the state attorney, the public defender or the victim. The prosecutor asked for 12 years. The defense attorney argued for a youthful offender sentence that would last a year in jail with probation to follow. The defense attorney didn’t mention juvenile sentencing.

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Are you under the age of eighteen? Have you been charged with a crime? Unlike adults, juveniles are charged in a different court. In Florida, juveniles are tried in the Juvenile Justice System.

In Florida there are several differences between the Juvenile Justice System and the Criminal Justice System that tries adults. Some of these differences are:

  1. Unlike the criminal system that punishes defendants convicted of a crime, the Juvenile Justice System focuses on rehabilitating the defendant.
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Criminal cases involving minors in the state of Florida are handled by the Juvenile Justice System or “Department of Juvenile Justice” (DJJ), and generally progress through the system a little differently than adult crimes.

Usually juvenile crimes are moved through the system faster than adult cases.  Unlike adult court, there are no juries in Juvenile Court and a Judge decides all trials.  The Juvenile Justice System also differs from the adult system in that it focuses more on rehabilitation rather then punishment.

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