Friday, June 14, 2013

Factors Contributing To "At-Risk Youth" ~ How To Get Your Child Back On Track

How to get your child back on track

~ Studies have shown that the younger the age when arrested, the more likely a repeat offender

~ Early intervention reduces the problems and factors that could result in a juvenile spending their life in the court system. 

The Law Office of Katie Walsh wants to help your child find their way back. One way to do that is to avoid him/her becoming a “ward of the court,” another is to see what is going on in their lives and help fix it:
  • are there problems at school, 
  • a learning disability that is making them frustrated with school, 
  • Bullying, 
  • Insecurities, 
  • Problems at home 
Many of these issues contribute to kids making poor decisions and we don’t want to it affect their future.

Factors contributing to "At-Risk Youth"

  • FAILURE IN SCHOOL- Being a year behind or failing school is a large factor in predicting future criminal behavior. Indicators are: poor academic performance, poor attendance, expulsion or dropping out of school. Not being in school reduces the chance that juveniles will develop the “skill sets” that are gained from school: social skills, following instructions, dealing with peers 
  • PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS- things such as running away, frequently stealing, conduct problems in school, out late at night/missed curfew, overly aggressive 
  • FAMILY PROBLEMS- A family history of criminal activity. Children exposed to sexual or physical abuse, or children subject to neglect or abandonment. Lack of parental control 
  • SUBSTANCE ABUSE- recreational use of drug or alcohol, arrests for drug and alcohol possession or sales. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol lowers a person’s inhibitions and leads to poor decisions 
  • GANG MEMBERSHIP- gang membership at any age is associated with future criminal activity. Gangs target and recruit juveniles, because the young are easier to persuade. Coincidentally, juveniles with the above factors (not being in school, and rocky family life) are more likely to join a gang, and therefore more likely to get arrested and become a part of the criminal system. 
Juvenile Law updates - Orange County California Law Offices of Katie Walsh 714-619-9355

Monday, June 10, 2013

United States Supreme Court DNA Decision

English: Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of ...
English: Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On June 2, 2013 the Supreme Court held that when the police arrest someone for a serious crime and the arrestee will be detained in custody at the police station, a DNA swab from the arrestee’s cheek is not a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. The purpose of collecting DNA is to add the DNA to a database (CODIS) which connects DNA laboratories at the local, state, and national level. DNA testing makes it possible to determine whether biological tissue matches a suspect with near certainty.

The Court held that the DNA swab was not a violation of the 4th Amendment because it was not intrusive as a cotton Q-tip was used to gather saliva from inside the cheek of the arrestee. Also, the DNA was used for the legitimate Government interest of identifying the arrestee so he could be properly housed in the jail based on his threat level which could be ascertained most accurately from DNA revealing his criminal past. The Court held that this legitimate Government interest outweighed the privacy rights of the individual. The Supreme Court limited collection of DNA samples to those arrested for “serious” offenses.

All 50 states and the federal government take DNA swabs from convicted criminals to check against federal and state databanks. But this decision, and controversy, is the collecting of DNA before someone is convicted of a crime. People are wrongly arrested, and quite often people get arrested by the police, and a case does not get filed by the district attorney’s office. Which is why the case decision was so close 5-4. Justice Scalia wrote in his dissenting decision “make no mistake about it: because of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason.”

In the Court’s holding, “The Act” authorizes law enforcement to collect DNA samples from persons charged with a violent crime, but requires that the sample may not be added to the database before that person is arraigned, and must be destroyed if they are not convicted. Therefore if you are wrongly arrested, or your case gets dismissed your DNA should not be in the database system. The California DNA Collection Act limits collection to those arrested for felonies (but not limited to only serious felonies)which seems to be in keeping with the Supreme Court decision.

In Orange County, many cases are negotiated for a lesser sentence (particularly misdemeanor cases) in exchange for a DNA sample that will be entered into the Orange County database.

If you need help with your case please contact the Law Office of Katie Walsh at (714) 619-9355.
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