The story gripped the nation: two teenagers – one just 13 years old, the other 18 – appeared to be drunk in love and careening out of control across the Southeastern United States.
Teen and ‘tween ‘sexting’ has become an unfortunate and dangerous component of the digital world of youth and adolescence. In response to this phenomenon, the Florida Legislature put together a set of laws drafted, so they thought, to differentiate between the exchange of graphic images between two juveniles and the trafficking of child pornography between vulnerable children and lascivious adults.
The U.S. Constitution contains an explicit ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Over the years, this clause has been interpreted over several generations of case law, tackling unique and sensitive issues relating to capital punishment of vulnerable members of society, namely, juveniles and those with mental and cognitive impairment. The former, which includes any offender who has not yet reached his 18th birthday, is fodder for ongoing debate, often resulting in presentation before the U.S. Supreme Court for resolution.
Shoplifting: a term often associated with young teenagers and their penchant for swiping a candy bar or, at worse, a video game from the local department store. While true, some shoplifting misdeeds fall within the category of petit (or “petty”) theft, others can quickly amount to a felony grand larceny charge – even if the item seems small or insignificant.
When a heated conflict between two family members suddenly turns physical, one or both participants may soon face domestic violence charges. Under Florida law, a criminal assault or battery becomes a domestic violence issue when certain facts are present in the situation – namely, the victims and participants maintain a familial or ex-familial relationship. The term domestic violence can encompass a wide range of activities beyond assault or battery.
As New Year’s Eve approaches, you may be dutifully planning your dinner, drinks and dancing schedule for the evening. Of course, the end of the year brings about much-deserved relaxation and restoration for many, and it is not uncommon for revelers to partake in some (or most) of the celebratory champagne as it is passed around at midnight.
The Florida Youthful Offender Act (the “Act”) was enacted by the Florida Legislature in 1978 to provide young adults who would normally be prosecuted in adult criminal court, with a more flexible and less harsh sentencing program. Florida Statute Section 958.021 explains that a primary purpose behind the Act is to increase the likelihood of rehabilitating and successfully returning young adult offenders (“youthful offenders”) to society by preventing their interaction with older and more experienced criminals in the prison system. Under the Act, youthful offenders are given increased vocational, educational, counseling and public service opportunities and they must participate in substance abuse and other forms of counseling. Members of the community are also encouraged to volunteer their time and skills to help youthful offenders reintegrate into their communities.