An eighteen (18) year-old and a juvenile were arrested this weekend in connection with a fatal shooting. Police alleged that the two suspects walked up to a sixteen (16) year-old girl and her boyfriend who were sitting at a bus stop, and shot the girl in the face and neck without saying a word. The girl tried to flee, but collapsed and subsequently died at the hospital. The girl's companion was unharmed. Police believe that the shooting was gang-related. The suspects are charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Murder with a Deadly Weapon and Attempted Murder.
When an adult is arrested for any charge, they are booked into the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC). However, when a juvenile is arrested, the process is different. Juveniles are initially booked into the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center, where prosecutors must first determine what charges will be filed. Certain charges are considered to be so serious that they cannot be handled in juvenile court – they may only be handled by the adult criminal court, even if the offender is a juvenile. Those charges are referred to as 'Direct File' charges, and include Murder and Attempted Murder, as well as some
sexual assaults and
If the prosecutor determines that the offense fits within one of the Direct File charges, the matter is never heard by the Juvenile Court. Paperwork is submitted to the Juvenile Judge indicating that it is a direct file and, after the judge signs the transportation order, the juvenile is transported to CCDC. The police reports are then transferred from the District Attorney's juvenile prosecutors to the District Attorney's criminal prosecutors, so that the criminal prosecutors can file the appropriate charges in adult criminal court. From there, the process is identical to that followed with adult criminal defendants.
The other way for a case to be transferred to adult court is for the prosecutor to file a Certification Petition. A prosecutor may file for Certification on
any felony charge. By filing a Certification Petition, the prosecutor is saying to the Court that the facts of the case are so serious that the charge should not be heard in juvenile court, or that the offender has used all the resources the juvenile court has to offer and there is nothing else the juvenile court can do, so the matter should be transferred to adult court.
When a Petition for Certification is filed on a juvenile offense, the defense has the opportunity to conduct an investigation regarding both the offense and the offender. A thorough defense investigation is critical to the certification process and can include interviewing witnesses, determining whether the offender has mental health or substances abuse issues, and numerous other factors that are important to the Certification process. Once the investigation is complete, the case is brought to court and a hearing is held. After hearing all the evidence, the Juvenile Judge determines whether the case should be heard in juvenile court or transferred to adult criminal court. If the matter is transferred to adult criminal court, the offender may be transferred to CCDC and treated as an adult offender, or held in protective custody at CCDC where he or she is kept in relative isolation for his or her own safety.
If your child is the subject of a juvenile petition, it is important that you contact a Las Vegas Juvenile Crimes Attorney right away. The Las Vegas Juvenile Crimes Attorney can analyze the facts of the case and determine whether he or she is eligible to be transferred to adult court. The Las Vegas Juvenile Crimes Lawyer can also advise you regarding possible defenses and litigation strategies to best meet your goals.