DWI Attorneys Blog

Monday, September 21, 2015

Two 16-Year-Old New Orleans Boys Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison

Is there, or should there be, any leniency for minors who commit horrendous crimes?

A recent case in which two 16-year-old boys were arrested and pled guilty to a series of very serious crimes is leading to renewed discussion of the way punishments are meted out to minors. Both teenagers confessed to robbing, kidnapping and raping a 30-year-old woman on the day after Thanksgiving. Each was sentenced to 35 years in prison and each will be required to register as a sex offender for his lifetime.

Although the boys were charged as adults and the crimes they committed were heinous, their sentences would have been harsher if they had been 18 years old at the time of commission. This is because, in 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court banned mandatory life sentences for juveniles who committed crimes before they reached 18 years of age. A divided court decided that the law must take into account the "immaturity, impetuosity and failure to appreciate risks and consequences" of youth.

If the young criminals had been 18 instead of 15 at the time they committed the crimes, Louisiana law would have mandated sentences of life in prison for aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping. As it is, their attorneys were able to arrange plea bargains that will enable them to seek parole once they have served 30 of their 35 year prison sentences.

Considering the severity of the crimes, these two young criminals are considered by some to have been given too much leniency in their punishments. They did, after all, commit six counts of aggravated rape, ostensibly viciously attacking their victim physically because robbing her had been unproductive. They also took their victim's car, its contents and her driver's license. In her highly emotional testimony, heard in a locked courtroom sealed off from the public, victim described the painful ordeal and its aftermath, during which she has had to undergo extensive therapy.  On the other hand, these boys were so young that it is highly questionable that they were capable of mature judgment.

Although the teenagers have now, through their attorneys, apologized for their brutal crimes and have acknowledged that they understand that they are going to be incarcerated for a large portion of their lives, it is difficult to know whether, even now, such young people can fully grasp the extent of their crimes or their punishment.

Being arrested and accused of a crime, especially if you are a young person, is a serious trauma and can have far-reaching consequences. If you are facing criminal prosecution, you are entitled to a vigorous defense. Please contact one of our highly qualified criminal defense attorneys at Joe Larré Law Firm for assistance. Serving all of the Southern Parishes of Louisiana, we can be reached at 504.520.8989 or 985.231.7777.

The Joe Larré Law Firm LLC specializes in DWI/DUI Defense, Car Accident Personal Injury, and Criminal defense, assisting clients in Jefferson Parish, Lafourche Parish, St Charles Parish, St Tammany Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Orleans Parish, East Baton Rouge Parish, Tangipahoa parish, and all other Southern Louisiana Parishes.

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