Juvenile Delinquency cases are criminal cases where the offender is under the age of seventeen at the time of the offense. Juveniles face the same types of penalties that adults do - the system just gives some of those penalties different names. Juveniles found "delinquent" (guilty) can be fined, placed on probation, given suspended sentences, or given committed sentences. A juvenile who is committed is sent to a "secure facility" within the Department of Youth Services. Make no mistake about it, a "secure facility" is a jail with locked doors and bars on the windows.
Juveniles who commit serious felonies involving serious harm or the threat of serious harm to others can be prosecuted as "youthful offenders". Once the Juvenile Court determines that a juvenile is a youthful offender the court proceedings become public and the juvenile can be sentenced as if he/she were an adult. This can include a full adult state prison sentence.
2009 saw a spike in serious juvenile/youthful offender crime particularly in the Lowell and Lawrence areas. Attorney Lewin just finished a forcible rape case in Lowell Juvenile Court where a fifteen year old boy was accused of raping a five year old girl. The case was not a triable case as the boy had given a firm written detailed confession. The victim's family asked the Judge to impose a lengthy adult prison sentence; the District Attorney asked for a committed sentence. With the assistance of two very favorable psychological evaluations and reports Attorney Lewin was able to convince the Judge to impose probation with no sex offender registration. 2009 also saw two successfully defended gun cases in Lowell Juvenile Court by Attorney Lewin and he is presently defending a 16 year old high school student on a charge of Attempted Murder by Strangulation in Lawrence Juvenile Court.
Make no mistake about it, juvenile cases can be serious and require the same level of attention and skill and effort that any adult criminal case requires.