As I may have mentioned a thousand times before, it seems like we have criminalized everything. This new level of Big Brother strictness has really hurt our younger folks, who can get a criminal record far more easily than I could have as a kid growing up in the ’80s.
And, without boring you with my adolecent middle-class suburban shenanigans, let me admit now that–under current laws–it may have been possible to charge me and my friends with several felonies back in the day (that’s a slight exaggeration, my mom always told me I was a great kid).
The funny thing about growing up in the ’80s is that most “situations” were handled inside the school–with parents, and without police involvement. Today, schools have actual cops on staff, on constant patrol. And, if you have lots of people running around with hammers, it should be no surprise that they find a nail or two every now and then.
As a side note, when I became a public defender back in 1993, I was given “the Tour”. At the juvenile stop, the assistant public defender in that division was trying to make a point to me about how her young clients end up in the criminal justice system. She had 30+ youngsters in the courtroom, and she asked the kids to raise their hands if they had two parents at home. One kid raised his hand. Then, she asked for a show of hands for those living with one parent at home. Three more kids raised their hands. Next, she asked about those living with a grandparent, and several more hands shot up.
In our case for today, we’re heading back into that juvenile courtroom full of kids who have no idea what kind of trouble they’ve gotten themselves into. Our case begins in a middle school classroom, where several juveniles were telling each other April Fools jokes, on, you guessed it, April Fools Day, 2019. J.A.W. v. State, 2019 Fla.App. LEXIS 16736 (Fla. 1st DCA 2019). Continue Reading