Being charged with a felony is never an easy process; but when a child is charged with a crime, it can be a very long road—not just for the child but for his or her entire family. Certain cases, such as a recent case in Michigan, are visibly bunk and likely not to have lasting consequences for a child. Other incidents, such as murder, aggravated assault, or robbery can have very serious lasting consequences.
MSNBC reports that of the 2,500 Americans who are currently in prison for a crime committed before turning 18 years of age, 2,000 of them are currently serving life without parole. In 2012, a Supreme Court ruling was intended to mark the end of mandatory life sentences without parole for children. However, as of last year, only a handful of states had complied with the ruling. In decades past, 28 states previously had mandatory life without parole sentences for juvenile offenders. Thirteen states now ban that practice. The United States is the only country in the world that gives life sentences without parole to children.
Illinois is among the states that has made juvenile offenders eligible for new sentencing, as noted by The Huffington Post. The Illinois Coalition for the Fair Sentencing of Children led the charge to reconsider life sentences given to children. In fact, the Coalition notes that it was at the end of 2014 when an Illinois case was considered by the Supreme Court, which resulted in the ability of the approximately 80 individuals who were under 18 at their time of sentencing to have their sentencing reconsidered.
A serious crime may never be removed from a child’s record. However, working with a dedicated family law attorney who is well equipped to handle such cases can make all the difference in the world. If your child has been charged with a crime, the most important first step is to seek legal council. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney today.