When a child is accused of an offense in juvenile court, parents may not know where to turn. The juvenile justice system may not seem as open as the criminal justice system. For many types of offenses, New Jersey law gives authorities significant power over a child. Juveniles may face serious allegations—not all juvenile cases are for relatively minor offenses.
A story from Blackwood, New Jersey, may help to illuminate how a kid may face a difficult battle against the government’s adult lawyers in juvenile court. Authorities say that several women at an apartment complex in Blackwood had reported being approached by a male who grabbed them on their backsides. A resident of the complex called police claiming that a male who might fit the description of the alleged young man was seen in the area.
Authorities arrested a 13-year-old male on suspicion of a string of offenses. The boy is accused of sex offenses, lewdness and harassment related to several incidents reported at the apartment complex. Five different women say that a male approached them and touched them in an inappropriate manner. Two of the women think the boy tried to give them a kiss.
Authorities say that they did not think that the alleged assailant was as young as 13 years old. Yet, the child was transported to the Camden County Juvenile Detention Center on suspicion of aggravated sexual assault and other offenses.
When a person is accused of a crime, the consequences can be long lasting. When a sex crime is alleged, the issues can be even more complex—both in a court of law and the court of public opinion. A juvenile has a right to representation in juvenile court, just as an adult has the right to a criminal defense. The government certainly sends lawyers to court in each type of proceeding.
Source: CBS New York, “Boy, 13, Accused In String Of Sexual Assaults In Southern New Jersey,” Mar. 3, 2014