Juvenile Offenses While Being a Minority

Recently, a Lauderdale boy was charged with armed carjacking after his mother saw footage of him on the news and took him into the police department. The boy, who is just 14 years old, was allegedly part of a carjacking cohort. Another boy, who is only 12 years old, is being tried as an adult for the crime, according to the Palm Beach Post. Armed carjacking is a first degree felony punishable by up to life in prison, according to statute 812.133. Both of the boys are black, and as studies and countless state and federal statistics have shown, minority children are far more likely to be tried as adults for crimes than white children.

Racial Bias of Criminal Justice System Reaches Down to School Aged Kids

Sadly, the majority of jurors, police officers, judges, lawmakers, voters, and prosecutors have deep racial biases that have continued to weave themselves into the fabric of America. This racism has made its way into every realm of society, from employment and housing, to education and the criminal justice system. If racism was reserved to the minority of American minds, the current system would not allow the fact that 84 percent of juveniles that have been given life sentences without parole are black, according to the New York Times.

Two Thirds of Juvenile Transfers in Florida are Black

In Florida, two thirds of juveniles transferred to adult incarceration facilities are black, according to the Miami Herald. Meanwhile, blacks in Florida make up just 17 percent of the population. Black children being incarcerated at higher rates than white children holds true across at least nine other states studied. This racism is spread throughout every state. Take New Jersey, for example. A study done by WNYC, a public radio station, found the following information over the past five years of court data, which accounts for the total number of minors tried as adults and the total percentage of minors tried as adults:

  • Black: 460 children and 66.5 percent of minors charged as adults;
  • Hispanic: 145 children and 20.9 percent of minors charged as adults; and
  • Caucasian: 76 children and 10.9 percent of minors charged as adults.

Moreover, during that time prosecutors requested to try 847 black children as adults, 247 Hispanic children as adults, and just 139 Caucasian children as adults. This is a state, like most, where Caucasians make up the majority of the population.

A West Palm Beach Juvenile Defense Lawyer is Here to Help

White children, just like white adults, commit crimes at the same rate that black and Hispanic children and adults commit crimes. Your child should not have to suffer the injustice of being tried as an adult simply because they are not white. You must fight back against this ingrained racism and ensure that your child has the same opportunities as other children who face charges for similar offenses, and to go through the juvenile court system that is much more lenient and focused on rehabilitation, as opposed to punishment. For help, contact a criminal defense lawyer with the Skier Law Firm today.

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