Tracking Cristobal

When are juveniles in Louisiana tried as adults?

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St. Landry Parish District Attorney Earl Taylor basically says in order to charge a juvenile as an adult, the law requires a person to be 15 years of age or older.

In the shooting death of 17 year old Matthew Carter, the two suspects are ages 13 and 14.

And because of their ages, they likely won’t be tried as adults.

District Attorney Taylor explains why:

“They really don’t know the difference between right and wrong. They really don’t have the maturity to be able to distinguish all that they should be,” Taylor stated.

The maximum penalty for a juvenile convicted of murder is 24 years — as opposed to a possible life sentence for an adult.

Taylor believes the penalty depends on what the judge in the case feels is appropriate.

“If you have a child where the parents leave the gun around and he picks it up at seven years old; he fires it at his sister and kills her. You don’t want that person in jail for 24 years. You’ll have a real problem of even convicting them of intending to murder,” Taylor added.

Taylor says that a convicted juvenile is sent to juvenile corrections to serve his or her time.

Once they reach adult age, they are moved to an adult facility.

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