Juvenile Murdered in the Portland Neighborhood

juvenile murdered in the Portland neighborhood of LouisvilleA 15-year old boy was fatally shot allegedly by two other teenagers.  A second victim was also shot.  The two teens have been arrested by LMPD.  The first is age 15 and the second is only 13 years old.  The juvenile murdered in the Portland neighborhood is another tragedy in a year marked with many Louisville shooting fatalities.

As a Louisville criminal defense attorney, I have to say it’s extremely unfortunate to see so many young people involved in serious crimes.  I’ve represented high school and college students on many charges, over the years.  However, when they’re involved in a murder case, it still causes me to wonder why all of this continues to happen.

The teens are currently being charged with murder, 1st-degree assault and wanton endangerment.

Can a Juvenile be Sentenced to Life without Parole?

Criminal courts have specific guidelines regarding sentences for juveniles.  Based on a 2005 US Supreme Court ruling, children and teens cannot be sentenced to the death penalty.  One would then think at least they could be sent to prison for life.  Well, the US Supreme Court also ruled in 2012 that a juvenile cannot be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole (click the link above to see my blog post related to these 2 rulings).

However, if the prosecution charges one or both of these defendants, and gets a conviction of murder, the judge could actually sentence either of them to life in prison.  The defendant would be eligible for parole after a period of years.

In building their case, the police and prosecutors are going to interview the second victim to figure out how best to proceed.  A common tactic will be to try to turn the two defendants against one another.  They’ll entice each of them with the possibility of a reduced sentence for cooperating.  The prosecution has discretion and will use it to secure a confession, if possible.

Advice for Parents

If you’re a parent of a minor who’s involved in a crime.  Regardless of whether your child did it or not, a future is at stake.  Even minor charges including misdemeanors and minor felonies can have significant ramifications.  You need to act quickly to enable your defense attorney to step in to protect the minor.

While a juvenile murdered in the Portland neighborhood is a tragedy, throwing away the future of a teenager who made a horrible decision is also tragic.  Depending upon the situation, your minor may have to serve time.  But remember, this is about the long future ahead.  A skilled and experienced Kentucky criminal defense attorney may be able to help ensure the judge minimizes the severity the sentence.  There are ways to protect the minor’s future.