Should juvenile defenders receive special treatment?

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2023 | Blog, Juvenile Criminal Defense |

A minor who commits murder in Louisiana may be tried as an adult, which could mean a lengthy prison sentence if convicted. However, scientific research has found that a child’s brain is less developed than an adult’s brain, which means that a younger defendant may not fully understand the gravity of the crime committed. Therefore, there is a school of thought that says it may be appropriate to give them a second chance to live life as a free individual.

The argument for showing leniency for minors

Kids who are exposed to violence or who are victims of physical, sexual or other types of abuse themselves may be at a higher risk of committing acts of violence. This is because they lack the emotional maturity to understand that what they saw or experienced is not normal behavior. Furthermore, they may lack the emotional maturity to respond to adverse situations without being aggressive themselves. Ultimately, this may make them less responsible for their actions, which may be grounds for clemency.

The argument against showing minors leniency

Those who are against clemency for minors who have committed murder say that granting it would be offensive to victims. Primarily, allowing youthful murderers to have a second chance isn’t fair because those who were killed don’t get a second chance at life. Furthermore, the families of the deceased will still live with the pain of losing their loved ones.

Some do show remorse

Showing remorse may be a powerful criminal defense strategy that may convince a judge to reduce a sentence if the law allows for that to happen. There have been many documented cases of juvenile defendants who admit what they did and have taken steps to become better people while in prison. Therefore, they may not be a danger to society if released.


FindLaw Network