Juvenile Crimes: When can a child be sentenced to an extended term?

By Maynard & Sumner, LLC of Maynard & Sumner, LLC posted in Juvenile Crimes on Monday, April 7, 2014.

When children and teenagers are charged with juvenile crimes, the courts try to reach a resolution that will aid in the rehabilitation of the juvenile. However, in certain cases, juveniles are eligible for an extended custodial sentence in a suitable retention center. The courts will only sentence a juvenile for an extended-term sentence when all considerations for rehabilitation have been exhausted. In a recent matter before the New Jersey Supreme Court, In the Matter of K.O., a minor, the Court was asked to determine whether K.O. qualified for an extended-term sentence. The trial court concluded that K.O. did qualify, and sentenced him to a three-year sentence, the maximum for his juvenile crime. The Appellate Division affirmed.

In this appeal, brought before the court by K.O., K.O. argues that he does not qualify for an extended term. Pursuant to NJ law, N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-44(d)(3), juveniles may be sentenced to an extended-term sentence if they have two prior adjudications. K.O. was adjudged delinquent of second-degree aggravated assault in 2008. Less than two month later, the K.O. was charged for committing another act of aggravated assault. The State argued that the juvenile was convicted of two crimes that if committed by an adult would constitute a second-degree crime, and therefore, should be sentenced to an extended-term of 3 years in a juvenile detention facility. The defense argued that an extended term may only be applied when the juvenile is being sentenced for his third delinquency. The Supreme Court justices sided with the defense, thus reversing the Appellate Division’s decision. Chief Justice Rabner, writing the opinion for the court determine that a juvenile must have two separate previous predicate adjudications to qualify for an extended-term sentence.

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