Greg Smith and Associates, Criminal Defense Attorneys

Salt Lake City (Murray)
Free 15 Min. Consultation  :  Nights & Weekends  :  Easy Payments

801-651-1512  -  24/7

Free 15 Min. Consultation 24/7

801-651-1512

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Office Location

Salt Lake City Office
111 E. 5600 S. #105
Murray, UT 84107

Telephone: 801-651-1512
Fax: 801-255-2134
Salt Lake City Law Office Map



Say You’re Sorry: Remorse in Juvenile Law


The difference between the juvenile and adult justice systems is drastic in most states. The adult justice system focuses primarily on punishment when serious crimes are involved whereas the juvenile justice system typically places a heavier emphasis on rehabilitation.

In response to a youth crime wave, Colorado passed a law in 1993 which allowed prosecutors to unilaterally decide whether to prosecute juveniles as adults. Colorado was part of a national trend of states adopting so-called "direct file" systems to address youth violence.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a report concluding that these direct file systems are counterproductive to addressing youth crime because youths prosecuted as adults are far more likely to reoffend. It has proven difficult for lawmakers in Colorado and across the country to repeal these direct file systems however because lawmakers do not want to appear "soft on crime."

The determination of whether a child will be prosecuted as an adult relies on a variety of factors including whether the child feels remorse for his or her alleged crimes. This method of evaluating juvenile offenders may be misplaced according to some psychiatrists and researchers. The area of the brain which controls emotions is not fully developed until people reach their early 20s and one forensic psychiatrist says that children do not develop a sense of remorse until around age six.

Progressing brain development is why teens typically have a hard time expressing their feelings or displaying remorse in court. Trauma can exacerbate these issues and cause a juvenile defendant to appear cold and unsympathetic.

"Many kids would realize, if remorse plays a big role in their sentencing, to simply say how sorry they are and try to appear remorseful," the forensic psychiatrist said. "You have to ask yourself, when they don't say that, what is going on with this kid? A comprehensive mental health assessment would help us understand."

Emotional immaturity is another reason why juveniles can be difficult defendants. Children typically lack the requisite emotional ability to identify and portray a socially appropriate reaction to a situation. This is why children often do not appear remorseful at funerals, for example.

Many juvenile offenders also use denial as a defense mechanism against uncomfortable emotions. The lack of remorse in a juvenile offender is therefore more likely to be a telling indication of emotional immaturity, not a sign of a heartless offender that needs to be treated as an adult.

New studies into child psychology and juvenile crime statistics sparked a recent movement to keep more juveniles out of adult court. Utah and Washington are among the states that have provided easier ways for adult court judges to transfer children back to juvenile court, while other states remain hesitant to make the change.

Clients with disabilities or impairments

Access to our office is available to clients and their family members at all times. Special equipment and communication devices are available upon request for our clients with visual, hearing, speech and physical impairment. In addition, arrangements can be made for verbal or sign language interpreters if needed to communicate between our attorneys and the client and family. Please notify our law office if any additional accommodations related to your disability or impairment are necessary to make your consultation more comfortable.

I understand that I am contacting a corporation, not an individual, and that if I do business with the law firm, it will be with that corporation, not any individual(s). I understand that Greg Smith and Associates is not the legal name of the law firm, rather, it is "Affordable Legal Advocates, PC." I also understand that whatever may relate to, or arise out of, any communication with the law firm, which results in any type of legal action, such must be brought in the Third District Court of Utah, West Jordan Department, and that this is mandatory not permissive.

We Can Help You Now

Call 801-651-1512   Call Now 24/7 Free Consultation: 24/7, nights & weekends
Typically No Retainer - Easy Payments!*

Use our secure private form

I have read the disclaimer.

Feedback From Satisfied Clients

"The domestic violence and DUI crimes that I was charged with would have ruined my career. Thank you for saving me! You are worth every penny I paid you."

More Testimonials >

Avvo Clients' Choice Award. 5 Stars
5 Star Rating


   Review Us On Google

Office Location

Salt Lake City Office
111 E. 5600 S. #105
Murray, UT 84107

Telephone: 801-651-1512
Fax: 801-255-2134
Salt Lake City Law Office Map




Greg Smith and Associates, Criminal Law Attorneys, located in Salt Lake City (SLC), also represents clients from communities such as Provo, Orem, Payson, Ogden, Park City, Sandy, Draper, West Valley City, Bountiful, Murray, West Jordan, Taylorsville, Farmington, Alta, Bluffdale, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Herriman, Holladay, Midvale, Murray, Riverton, Sandy, South Jordan, South Salt Lake, Taylorsville, West Jordan, West Valley City and Richfield; and counties including Salt Lake County, Summit County, Tooele County, Sevier County and Davis County, Utah.

Typically No Retainer - Easy Payments. *Call for details.


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Disclaimer

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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