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The Perspective of the Police Officer
There is a number of possible outcomes of interaction between the police and a minor: first, a young delinquent might be counseled and released. In this case, a police officer issues a warning explaining the gravity of the deed and possible adverse consequences if it is repeated. The second outcome might include holding a minor until his or her parents or guardians arrive to handle the situation. In the present case, the described two measures suffice not, and the police officer would have to heed the contents of the crime and refer the teenager to the juvenile court.
Now, it is important to note that referring a minor to the court is not based on a police officer’s subjective ideas of what is just or unjust. The final decision needs to be made based on a number of factors, and namely, the severity of the offense, the offender’s past record, his or her age, and social history. In the present case, the contents of the crime include sexual assault and battery aggravated by possession of alcoholic beverage and cannabis.
Moreover, the strength of the evidence – both the presence of substances and a witness who caught the teenager in the process – justify the harshest measure available, which is a referral to the court. The teenager will be in detention for no longer than 48 hours with the right to one phone call. The authorities will settle on the date when he and his parents must appear before the court.
The Perspective of the State Attorney
The role of the state attorney is to defend the accused teenager against the government’s case. While the prosecutor represents the state, the state attorney represents the interests of his or her defendant. In the United States, the juvenile court is separated from the adult criminal justice system. It is argued that underage criminals need to seek reformation, and corrective measures should take priority over strictly punitive measures.
However, even a person whose role is to defend the teenager should consider the charges as delinquent acts. In 2007, it was announced that 12 is the minimum age for criminal responsibility in the United States (Orendan, 2019). What the state attorney might advocate for before the court is a milder punishment given the young age. Another point to make is the uncertainty as to whom the controlled substances belonged to.
As for the punishment, sentences in the juvenile court may vary greatly and be vastly different from those in the adult criminal justice system. For instance, the average sentence length for a sex offender is 129 months (United States Sentencing Commission, 2019). In the present case, the state attorney might want to keep the minor out of the correctional facility and ask for home detention up to 180 days.
The Perspective of the Judge
The process might be resolved whether through a plea agreement or a full-fledged trial. The first option is not exactly possible since the perpetrator is reluctant to plead guilty and insists on the willingness of the victim to engage in sexual activities with him. Thus, a trial is needed during which the prosecutor and the state attorney will present evidence and interrogate the witnesses. The latter might help to determine who indeed was in possession of alcoholic beverages and cannabis: for instance, were the perpetrator caught using and possessing on other occasions, it is likely that he brought the substances to the victim’s house.
The judge will need to determine the gravity of sexual assault. Now, it is possible that the victim might have consented to the sexual activity at the beginning; however, it is possible to withdraw one’s consent at any given moment.
What shows that the victim did not consent or no longer consented at some point is the perpetrator’s use of force, and namely, battery with a shoe. Given that it is something he has done before, he was aware of the impact of his actions. Lastly, what aggravates the situation is that the victim was under the influence and almost unconscious at the moment of sexual assault, which again, proves that she could not give informed, enthusiastic consent (Cornell Law School, 2017).
In the present case, the judge has to make a difficult choice. The most logical decision would be to refer the perpetrator further to a local juvenile detention center. However, juvenile detention centers are known for their negative influence, which increases the likelihood of recidivism. The court’s best findings might be home detention, probation, and community service. The teenager’s entire lifestyle – his school absenteeism and violations of curfew – should be taken into consideration. Family-based intervention and group counseling might help to make amendments and positively change not only him but also his environment.
Cornell Law School. (2017). 10 U.S. Code § 920.Art. 120. Rape and sexual assault generally. Web.
Orendan, N. (2019). Should children as young as 12 be sent to juvenile detention? The Conversation. Web.
United States Sentencing Commission. (2019). Mandatory Minimum Penalties for Sex Offenses in the Federal Criminal Justice System. Web.