Why Juvenile Records Should Not Be Used in Adult Sentence Enhancements
Date:  10-30-2020

Plea bargaining convictions as a juvenile can haunt adults decades later
From Juvenile Justice Information Exchange:

“How is this possible?” I ask my friend Felix. There’s a noticeable and rare twist of anger in my voice.

“You know what to expect,” he says. “When have they ever ruled on the side of the law when it comes to us?” Felix is responding to the news I just shared with him: My case in the Washington State Court of Appeals was denied. “Yeah, I know! What was I thinking, having hope?” I want to scream in the justices’ faces, “HOW CAN YOU BE SO DUMB? DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND THE LAW?”

I’m annoyed with myself. I have been involved with the courts since I was 11 years old. The fact that I allowed myself to hope I could receive a fair shot in the courts, well, it pisses me off — I know better. But what hurt the most was listening to my partner cry on the phone while I read the email from my lawyer: “… the Court of Appeals dismissed our petition … I could go on and on about how wrong it is, how it misapplies and fails to understand the law, how it’s all about wanting you to lose, but the bottom line is I will now take it to the Washington Supreme Court. Hopefully, they have grown uncomfortable with the use and misuse of juvenile convictions …”

I have been fighting this appeal for over a year, and it seemed like it should be an easy win. The fact is, in my youth I had taken plea deals on several juvenile cases. As part of the pleas, the state stipulated they would not use these cases against me should I find myself in adult court. Continue reading >>>