Sunday, October 20, 2013

You Be the Judge

It's another installment of the popular series on this blog. Below will list the publicly known facts of a particular case and available sentencing options for the judge. Give us your opinion on what the sentence should be and even better, why.


The 16 year old male defendant was a member of a neighborhood gang and entered rival gang territory. He saw a 17 year old female who is associated with the rival gang. They argued and the defendant pulled out a fully loaded revolver while surrounded by seven of his friends. He pointed the gun at the victim's head from three feet away and pulled the trigger. The gun did not go off, which caused the defendant to look at the gun and point it at her head again, pulling the trigger twice more with the same result. The defendant ran away and so did the victim who was unharmed.

The police watched the surveillance video depicting the above events and arrested the defendant 20 minutes later, still in possession of the revolver. The revolver is tested and determined that it works, but the ammo in the gun is not the correct ammo. The gun will fire with that ammo, but not every time the trigger is pulled. It all depended whether the ammo lined up properly in the cylinder when the defendant tried to fire it.

The defendant confessed to the crime, but said he blacked out when he pulled the gun out.

The defendant pleaded guilty to a class B felony and a class C felony, the highest charges he was charged with. The defendant has no prior record and a very involved family.

Possible Sentence:

The defendant is eligible for Youthful Offender adjudication (due to his age), which means the judge can seal his conviction and sentence him to as low as probation and as high as 4 years in jail if given this. The judge can also sentence him without Youthful Offender status and sentence him as an adult, without sealing the case, to anywhere between 5 and 25 years in jail.

Please comment, email, or tweet @prosdiscretion your opinion on the sentence and reason. But don't expect an answer until the sentencing date next month.

More like this:

You Get to be the Judge
The Sentencing Answer


  1. Wow.

    That is troubling, on so many levels.

    As is typical, I don't know where I fall on this one. On the one hand, this kid needs serious intervention--he basically tried to kill someone, and should go to jail. On the other hand, is jail going to really help this kid turn his life around, or is he more likely to come out of it worse off? I don't know what to say.

  2. Well, given that there is no life without parole option given, I guess 25 years in prison should suffice. Those who willfully act in a manner designed to commit murder (point blank execution at that) deserve zero sympathy regardless of whatever mitigating factors you can throw into the equation.