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Teens charged with attempted murder for setting boy on fire

November 12, 2009

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Three Broward County youths are facing attempted second degree murder charges for setting their 15 year-old friend on fire. On October 12, 2009, five teenage friends of Michael Brewer covered him with alcohol and set him ablaze. Police officials determined that the attack occurred because Brewer owed one of the boys $40 for a video game. Brewer remains in critical condition in Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital's burn unit. It is unclear whether the defendants will be represented by Broward or Miami criminal attorneys.

Until Monday, the Broward County State Attorneys Office had not decided whether to charge the defendants as juveniles or adults. The decision to came down to whether to transfer the defendants to adult court. The defendants in the case are Denver Jarvis, age 15, Matthew Bent, age 15, and Jesus Mendez, age 16. All defendants under the age of 18 are treated as juveniles, unless the assistant state attorney in charge of the juvenile unit decides to bind up the case to adult court. The Miami-Dade County's juvenile system works in a similar fashion. For example a person under the age of eighteen charged with theft or marijuana possession will most likely remain in juvenile court. However, a juvenile charged with a violent crime, such as attempted murder or armed robbery, will be sent to adult court where the penalties are much stiffer.

The Miami criminal lawyer initially retained by Denver Jarvis provided an interview to CNN. She told reporters that she believed her client should not be charged as an adult. "The juvenile system is designed to deal with children criminally charged. Broward County has chosen to ignore the juvenile system." Brewer's parents have declined to comment on the transfer of the case to adult court, but one cannot imagine that they share the same view with Jarvis' lawyer.

As a Miami criminal lawyer, it is imperative to intervene early in a juvenile case in an effort to convince prosecutors to keep juveniles in the lower tribunal. The punishments served by adults and juveniles are vastly different. In the case of the three juveniles, if convicted in juvenile court, they would be facing up to eighteen month locked facility especially designed for people under the age of 18. If convicted in adult court, they are facing life in prison with the most hardened criminals the State of Florida has to offer. Of course, the judge presiding over their case has the power to apply juvenile sanctions in the event of a conviction. That route is a crap shoot because no one knows which judge will preside over the case. In any event, Broward County has made their decision and only time will tell what the final result will be.

3 Teens Accused of Setting Boy on Fire Face Attempted Murder Charges,, November 9, 2009.
Categories: Violent Crimes
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