As in all states, Minnesota has specific laws that pertain to criminal charges involving juveniles. In this state, anyone under age 14 is considered legally incapable of criminal action. However, a teenager between ages 16 and 18 when an alleged crime took place may, in certain circumstances, be tried as an adult. What about 15-year-olds, then? In fact, there is a particular law that addresses teens who are ages 14 or 15 when charged with a serious crime, such as murder, in which case a court may certify them to be tried as an adult.
That is exactly what occurred in the case of a boy who was age 15 when prosecutors filed charges against him for aiding and abetting a murder. The juvenile is accused of firing shots into a vehicle. Another teenager was also charged with murdering the vehicle occupant, an attorney, during an armed robbery.
The court considers numerous factors to try a juvenile as an adult
Before certifying that a 14-year-old or 15-year-old can be tried as adult in Minnesota, the court considers numerous factors, such as the severity of the crime, the past criminal record of the juvenile and issues concerning available punishments. In this case, a district court judge ruled that the juvenile in question should not be tried as an adult. However, an appellate court judge overturned the decision, ruling that the court believes that the teen would pose a public safety risk if he were to be tried as a juvenile.
Case went to the Minnesota Supreme Court
The highest court in Minnesota ultimately reviewed the case and upheld the appellate court’s decision. Thus, the 15-year-old will face the charges against him as an adult. Criminal defense support is available for any family who may be facing similar legal problems, accessible by requesting a meeting with an attorney who is experienced in the juvenile justice system.