Peter vs. the State of Rhode Island Scenario
17-year-old Peter broke into a home, stole approximately $10,000 worth of jewelry and electronics, and consumed a bottle of wine before he fled the scene in a stolen car. The police stopped Peter after noticing him swerving, speeding, and then slowing down on the interstate highway. During the stop, police saw the “loot” stashed in the back seat of Peter’s car and suspected he was involved in more than driving while intoxicated. Peter was properly arrested and booked on the charge of driving while intoxicated.
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The police believe Peter’s fingerprints will match those discovered at the burglary scene and are likely to charge him with burglary and larceny, as well as grand theft auto. Peter’s parents have been contacted and are debating whether he should retain counsel because they are struggling financially. To complicate matters, Peter fully admitted to the charges before his parents were contacted.
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Since it is Peter’s first time in the juvenile justice system, neither he nor his parents know what to expect. What is likely to happen? Will Peter have to go to court or trial? If so, what can he expect in the court process?
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Juvenile Justice Assignment Instructions
Research the juvenile justice laws or policies in your community or state and write 750 a -word response to Peter’s parents. Explain the process Peter might go through in the application of criminal justice in your community or state.
Address the following in your paper:
- Identify the city or state laws you are researching.
- Describe 1 or more procedures police may use in processing Peter’s case and explain why you selected these procedures. Consider the following questions in your response:
- What steps might the police take in their investigation?
- Will Peter be charged with a crime(s)? If so, what crime(s) could Peter be charged with?
- What options do all parties (Peter, his parents, and the police) have related to intake, processing, and custody or release?
- Identify 1 or more potential court proceedings Peter may face and explain why you selected these proceedings. Consider the following questions in your response:
- What legal and financial rights can Peter and his family pursue?
- Is Peter likely to go through informal or formal court proceedings? Explain your reasoning.
- Describe court procedures if Peter’s case goes to trial. Include any details related to these procedures.
- If Peter goes through a disposition hearing, what will that entail? Describe the type of justice the judge may administer.
- Predict 1 potential post-court outcome. Explain the rationale for your prediction with relevant details.
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Peter vs. the State of Rhode Island Case Summary
Peter is a 17-year old teen recently arrested and charged with a string of criminal offenses ranging from larceny, burglary, to grand theft auto. These charges all stemmed from an incident where the accused reportedly broke into a private home and proceeded to steal electronic appliances worth $10,000 and jewelry found within the vicinity. He also consumed a bottle of luxury wine found in the house then fled the scene using a stolen family car as his get-away vehicle. Law enforcement officers soon pulled him over while conducting a routine highway patrol;given that the suspect was driving erratically and was way above the interstate speed limit.
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The officers in question then noticed a host of items strewn across the backseat, raising further suspicion that Peter might have been involved in criminal activity. Yet, the officers initially proceeded with arresting the suspect for driving under the influence. It was only during processing at the precinct that they soon realized that Peter’s fingerprints matched those collected from a burglary scene the previous night, resulting in formal charges being leveled against him for his involvement in criminal activity. He cooperated fully with the investigators and took full responsibility for his involvement in the crime. Peter’s parents also revealed that they were currently going through a host of financial difficulties bound to hinder their ability to pay for the retainer required for legal representation. These factors should, therefore, be evaluated deeply to determine whether the case will go to trial and what Peter should expect if his case is referred to the juvenile justice system.
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Peter vs. the State of Rhode Island
As mentioned earlier, Peter was 17-years old during his arrest and formal indictment on charges ranging from larceny, burglary, to grand theft auto. He is consider a juvenile under Rhode Island state law and would , therefore, be charged as such when presented before a court of law. Rhode island state law is specific in stating that offenders below the age of 18 cannot be subjected to the jurisdiction of an adult court since they are yet to attain the mandated age of criminal responsibility (Interstate Commission for Juveniles, 2021).
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Peter’s case may also be influenced by the fact that he does not have any prior criminal convictions stemming from past felony charges. This, therefore, means that he does no meet the minimum threshold for legal waiver to an adult court and may have his case heard within the confines of the juvenile justice system. Moreover, Peter may benefit from the fact that he has never been convicted for a criminal offense punishable by life imprisonment, has no prior drug-related felony charges, never been sentenced to serve time in a juvenile facility, and cooperated fully with federal and state investigators. However, it is important to note that Peter’s larceny, burglary, to grand theft auto offenses satisfy the basic requirements currently provided for delinquent juvenile offenders of the
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It is noteworthy to first acknowledge that the law enforcement officers were justified in initiating the initial traffic stop. Peter was driving erratically on the busy interstate highway and way above the accepted speed limit and seemed to swerve dangerously from side to side. They, therefore, had probable cause to initiate a traffic stop in order to investigate the driver and determine the exact reason behind such suspicious behavior. Additionally, their suspicion was further aroused by the fact that Peter had an assortment of goods strewn in the backseat which eventually led the police to suspect that they were stolen. His case was further complicated by the matching fingerprints from a burglary scene, while also confirming his culpability. While the evidence gathered thus far corroborated witness testimonies and statements, it will be up to presiding judge to determine the suspect’s guilt or innocence based on the weight of evidence presented in court.
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Procedures Followed in Prosecuting Peter’s Case
- The first step likely to be followed in prosecuting Peter’s case would be identifying the specific crimes he is accused on committing. They would then be presented before an intake officer to determine whether they satisfied the threshold for criminal prosecution.
- If the evidence fails to meet the accepted threshold for criminal prosecution, Peter would then be surrendered to his parent (s) or guardian (s). Yet, it is important to note that the evidence gathered and Peter’s guilt admission currently meet the threshold for criminal prosecution.
- Peter will be held in a youth detention center for no more than 72 hours pending a formal hearing regarding his ability to stand trial.
- A formal complaint would then be filed in a circuit juvenile court to assess and evaluate the crimes committed.
- The presiding judge will then determine whether to dismiss, adjust, or initiate formal hearings for the case.
- This process would soon be accompanied by a pre-hearing where the accused would be expected to either admit or deny the indictment charges.
- A pre-trial hearing would then be conducted; providing a unique opportunity for guilt admission, denial of charges, or taking a plea bargain.
- This would then be accompanied by the commencement of a trial where the judge will have to determine whether Peter satisfies the legal threshold provided for delinquents.
- The trial would also determine whether the accused should be sentenced to serve time in a youth detention center, be placed on probation, or pay fines for the various infractions committed.
- Peter would then be sentenced as a way of determining the most appropriate punitive measure to implement.
- It is also worth noting that Peter will be free to appeal the court’s final ruling.
Informal adjustment hearing
Given the type and level of crime committed by Peter, he is likely to be subjected to an informal adjustment hearing. This will be the most significant aspect of the legal proceedings given that they typically determine whether the accused is just but a first-time offender or only guilty of committing non-violent crimes. The current circumstances outlined within the case will be prosecuted as per the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution, while affording him the right of representation by an attorney under R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 12-15-9 (NJDC – Promoting justice for all children, 2021). Since Peter’s parents claim to be unable to pay a retainer to a counsel for representation, they may qualify for legal representation by a public defender. The main juvenile court proceedings typically involves filing a complaint in a criminal court (or possible diversion), detention hearing, pre-hearing, admission, and final adjudication of the delinquent (Beckham, 2019). This entire process will be followed before determining the next course of action to be taken in Peter’s criminal case.
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Possible Outcomes in Peter vs. the State of Rhode Legal Case
Several outcomes can be expected in Peter’s case. Denying the charges leveled against him would them mean that the public defender would have to put up a strong defense to have the case dismissed. This would typically involve identifying possible loopholes in the law or the possibility of the actual violation of Peter’s constitutional rights by the arresting officers. For instance, the prosecution would be expected to outline the probable cause that warranted the initiation of the traffic stop and whether they read the accused his Miranda Rights before proceeding with the interrogation. Peter may also choose to resort to guilt admission. This would likely result in him being placed under a 90-day court-supervised probation inclusive of coubselling, community service, and the payment of restitution.
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