A district court judge recently denied a request to try a Colorado teenager who is facing murder charges as a juvenile. Under criminal law in Colorado, anyone who accused of serious crimes such as murder before he or she turned 18 could be charged as an adult. This teen was one of two 17-year-olds arrested and charged with murder last May. Both have turned 18 since then, and both will face the charges as adults.

There are 11 criteria that judges must evaluate under Colorado law to determine whether the case should be heard in juvenile court. These include the type and seriousness of the alleged offense along with the type of violence involved and whether premeditation is claimed. The judge must also consider the potential rehabilitation of the youth and the interest of the community.

Both juveniles are being held without bond. If this young man is convicted as an adult, he could face a possible 40-year sentence. Parole may be possible after that. If the judge had decided to transfer the case to juvenile court, the maximum sentence would be seven years. No juvenile can receive a life sentence in Colorado, even if he or she is convicted as an adult.

The fact that a juvenile faces a murder charge as an adult does not automatically mean he or she is guilty. An extensive process must be followed before a conviction is possible. This can only occur if — and when — the prosecution actually proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is where the support and guidance of an experienced criminal law attorney who fully comprehends the gravity of the situation can be invaluable.

Source: fortmorgantimes.com, “Defendant Torres to be tried as adult“, Paul Albani-Burgio, March 20, 2018

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