Some criminal matters arise out of youthful mistakes. In Michigan, you will be charged as an adult for crimes committed at age 17 and older. Michigan's legislature recognizes the underdeveloped youthful brain and has offered an approach to help young offenders avoid having a criminal record through the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA).
When it comes to Teenage and Juvenile Crime, the list has gotten shorter. Michigan minors who occasionally sneak an alcoholic drink have caught a break. I previously posted about the new legislation that was, at the time, sent to Gov. Snyder's desk that would reduce a first MIP down to a civil infraction. As a civil infraction, the penalty for a first MIP would be a $100 fine. Gov. Snyder signed bills 332 and 333 at the end of 2017 and they take effect this year.
In the Teenage and Juvenile Crime arena, a Minor in Possession (MIP) conviction is quite common as underage drinking continues to be a popular pastime. With the amount of drinking on some college campuses, institutions of higher learning may as well have varsity drinking teams. Time and again we are reminded that alcohol abuse kills, whether it is the young fraternity pledge who drinks himself to death, or a young drunk driver involved in a fatal accident.
When you think of Teenage and Juvenile Crime it is important to remember that the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the use of cruel and unusual punishment. In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for states to sentence juveniles offenders convicted of murder to mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole.
The Constitution of the United States has several guaranteed rights: life, liberty, property, among others. Learning and understanding the Constitution is not just applicable to history class for some students. The Supreme Court, in Goss v Lopez, 419 U.S. 565 (1975), has stated that due process is not just a right granted to those charged with crimes. It also applies to school disciplinary actions. The 14th Amendment provides Michigan students with the right to attend school, which in turn requires schools to provide notice and an opportunity to be heard if a student has committed a school violation and is facing suspension or expulsion.
Unsurprisingly, one of the leading Teenage and Juvenile Crime involves alcohol. Although illegal at the time, teenage drinking for those of us who grew up in the 1980s was hardly the big deal it is in today's criminal justice system. "Back in the day", police officers exercised discretion and either poured it out, or (I assume) took it back to the station for after the shift. If you were really unlucky in the 80s, the police took you home and you had to face your parents.