Coast Juveniles Committing Just As Many Crimes As Adults - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/17/03

Coast Juveniles Committing Just As Many Crimes As Adults

When it comes to criminal offenses a local district attorney says the juveniles are keeping up with the adults. A pair of coast teenagers face serious charges from two separate incidents on Saturday. Both were violent crimes. The difference is one teen will face the justice system as an adult. Joseph Allen Massey is in the Harrison County Jail accused of shooting a man to death. He's 15-years old.

District Attorney Cono Caranna represents the people of Harrison, Hancock and Stone Counties. He says usually, when a boy picks up a gun during a crime, in the eyes of the law, he's a man.

"When they commit a crime, particularly one that is a felony, they have to realize they'll be tried as an adult. They'll be incarcerated as an adult," said Caranna.

The Moss Point 14-year-old who allegedly stabbed a relative on Saturday will go to family court. However, judges can choose to transfer offenders who are at least 13-years-old into the adult justice system.

"It's difficult sometimes when you're sitting there and you're looking at this person of tender years. But when you look at the act, the statute is clear that this person has earned the right by their misbehavior to be in the position that they're in, so you have to do your job."

Caranna says if young people expect their age to keep them from facing the consequences of breaking the law, they're wrong.

by Danielle Thomas

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