“I was wrongly convicted of murder. I spent nearly 17 years in prison fighting my case. When I finally won a new trial, I chose Greg Robey to be a part of my defense team. He found an FBI agent who had worked on the case in the 1980s, along with critical pieces of evidence that we thought were long lost. After a long and very hard-fought trial, I was found Not Guilty of all charges. I owe my freedom to Greg Robey and my defense team.” -R.R., Ravenna, Ohio
In the state of Ohio, someone under age 18 — i.e., a minor — can be tried as an adult, if he or she was 14 or older at the time of committing the crime. In some cases, trial as an adult is even mandatory, and it can be ordered by the court in other cases.
In either case, the services of a legal team with extensive experience in juvenile law can make the difference.
Adult trial is mandatory in serious cases when the court finds probable cause that the juvenile committed the offense and when the following situations apply:
When trial as adult is not mandatory, the court can choose to pursue it. Once probable cause is established, the court will order an investigation, including a mental examination. Then a hearing will determine whether the child is likely to be rehabilitated within the juvenile system, and whether community safety requires that the child be subject to adult penalties.
If it is determined that the child will stand trial as an adult, the juvenile court sets the terms of bail and orders custody to be transferred. If convicted, any incarceration is to an adult facility and any probation will be supervised by a probation officer who supervises adult offenders.
If a child’s case remains in juvenile court, there are alternatives to extend his or her time in a DYS facility, including imposing consecutive sentences for multiple charges, or adding additional time if a firearm was used.
The court may impose a “serious youthful offender” (SYO) sentence under certain circumstances. In this situation, a child is given a traditional juvenile sentence along with an “adult” sentence. But the adult sentence is “stayed” or delayed if the offender successfully completes the juvenile portion.