The community may quickly jump to the conclusion that a person accused of a serious crime in Utah is guilty and deserves to be severely punished. However, no individuals charged with committing violent crimes are considered guilty unless the prosecution meets a strict burden of proof in their cases. One teenager in our state who had previously pleaded guilty to murdering his two brothers was also recently charged with assault.
The 16-year-old has been charged with assault in the third degree after allegedly assaulting one other teenager in a detention facility for juveniles. Police said he essentially attacked the other teen using a broom. He reportedly appeared to have initiated this fight. The teen who was being attacked didn't fight back and suffered minor scratches and bruises as a result of the altercation.
Authorities charged the teenager as an adult in this assault case because he had previously been certified as an adult in one of the murder cases. The teenager's attorney has recently filed a motion requesting that the boy's competency be evaluated. According to the teenager's family, he has issues related to his mental health.
Being convicted of violent crimes has long-term and life-altering consequences, which is why prosecutors absolutely must prove criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt in order for an accused person to be convicted. In Utah, an individual who has been charged with a serious crime can rightfully fight the accusations. Whether an individual is tried as a juvenile or as an adult, it is important to have a strong defense.
Source: sltrib.com, "Competency review requested in assault case for Utah teen who killed brothers", Jessica Miller, Dec. 3, 2014