Blog Posts in 2015

  • Can Juveniles Waive Rights?

    An article in the Los Angeles Times highlights an increasing national debate about whether juveniles are fit to waive their rights when questioned by police. The article makes a number of points, including whether juveniles can make decisions while fully understanding the long-term consequences. A study by a UVA Ph.D. student found that “More than 90 percent of juvenile suspects waive their ...
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  • The Criminalization of School Discipline

    Over the past several years there has been an increasing trend toward the criminalization of school discipline. That’s a fancy way of saying that getting in trouble in school often results in criminal charges, instead of just being handled by the school. This happens in part due to having police officers in school, but it’s also due to the seriousness with which schools, school administrators and ...
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  • Juvenile Crime News: "Game" Leads to Arrest

    This week a 17-year-old was arrested in California after threatening letters and a suspicious object were found on an elementary school campus. The letters invited school officials to “play a game,” similar to horror movie plots. Officials say the object contained sodium ferrocyanide, a substance found in commercial products such as table salt and used in film processing. The investigation led to ...
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  • Juvenile Crime News: Curfews Ineffective

    A recent article out of Albuquerque, NM highlights a growing trend — that violent juvenile crime isn’t impacted by curfews. According to the report, citing FBI stats, juvenile crime nationwide sees spikes in the morning, then increases significantly in the afternoons when school lets out. Crime goes down throughout the evening hours when curfews are typically enacted in an attempt to reduce crime. ...
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  • Charged With Abduction in Virginia? Know the Facts

    It is easy to hear the word “abduction” and picture a Hollywood scene of a person blindfolded and tied to a chair with lots of drama, but this word actually has a broader legal definition. If you are facing criminal charges of abduction in Virginia and are confused about what this means, you are not alone. This complex offense includes holding, moving, or keeping an individual against their will, ...
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  • Juvenile Crime News: Police Concerned with Realistic Pellet Guns

    An article from a newspaper in Minnesota recently highlights the dangers of realistic pellet and bb guns for teens and others. The article reports on several recent incidents where teens were shooting pellet guns at a variety of objects, including cars, lights and geese. The article makes a very good point about realistic-looking pellet guns and how situations can quickly escalate to a deadly ...
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  • End of School: A Dangerous Time for Students

    The end of school and start of summer is one of the most dangerous times for high school students. Their minds are already on summer and college, their first jobs or upcoming military service. The atmosphere is contagious and horseplay and joking runs rampant — that’s dangerous because things can quickly get out of hand and escalate. What many teens forget is there are consequences for actions. ...
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  • Real or Fake? Virginia Beach Seminar Will Focus on Airsoft and Toy Guns

    On June 10 the Virginia Beach Police Department is hosting a seminar to educate people about the dangers of children playing with Airsoft pellet guns. The department’s goal is to address parents and caregivers about ways to keep children safe, since the air-powered guns look so realistic. Many adults, including officers, have difficulty identifying the guns as toys and the department will provide ...
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  • Are Juvenile Arrests on the Decline in TN?

    New Approach to Juvenile Offenders We recently came across an article from Chattanooga, TN, which stated that juvenile arrest have dropped 60% in the past five years. According to the article, the decline is the result of a shift in juvenile justice away from punitive, arrest-focused work and toward ways of dealing with juvenile offenders “that don’t automatically end with minors in handcuffs. The ...
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  • Juvenile Defense News: Student Charged with Taking Sword to School

    A local high school student was recently charged with taking a samurai sword to school on the bus. A situation that is all too familiar in the juvenile justice system. Teenagers often make decisions that aren’t well thought out, and when young egos get involved with pride of ownership, what started as a simple “show-and-tell” idea for friends, becomes a legal nightmare. While we’re not sure of the ...
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  • Sending Students to Police & Courts and Triple the National Rate

    The Center for Public Integrity Study A study by the Center for Public Integrity found that Virginia schools send students to the police and court system at almost triple the national rate. The report and subsequent news articles suggest that children are being pushed into the criminal justice system for actions that historically have been handled by the schools internally. The report leads with a ...
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  • Do Scared Straight Juvenile Programs Work?

    A recent article in The Register-Herald in West Virginia addresses Scared Straight programs and whether they are effective in helping prevent juvenile crime. The theory is that when juveniles are exposed to adult jails and see just how harsh prison life can be, they are less likely to be involved in criminal activity. The programs are sometimes criticized for achieving mixed results. The article ...
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  • Guns in Schools

    Guns are fascinating to kids and regardless of your views on gun control and gun ownership, the reality is young boys and girls are curious about guns. For many teens, and even middle-schoolers, access to guns is easier than you may think, whether in your home, or someone else’s. If there is a gun in the house, chances are the kids know where it is, and how to get to it. Gun safes and trigger ...
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  • Virginia Beach Defense Attorney Jerrell Johnson Named to Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers

    Virginia Beach criminal defense attorney and JR Law founder Jerrell Johnson has been named to The National Trial Lawyers list of Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers for 2015. Membership to the exclusive group is by invitation only and Jerrell is part of a premier group of attorneys who practice criminal defense law. Selection criteria includes superior qualifications, trial results and ...
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  • Juvenile Criminal Defense News: How to Stop the School-to-Prison Pipeline

    This week there’s a great article in the Harvard Political Review about the impacts of jailing juvenile offenders, and how incarceration at a young age increases the risk of future prison time. The article cites both the literal costs ($240.99 per day cost to taxpayers) and the hidden costs, such as emotional and mental duress, and behavioral problems. The article makes a strong case for earlier ...
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