Category Archives: Sexual Assault Defense

Is it Time to Reconsider Georgia’s “Seven Deadly Sins” Law?

Bill May Allow Greater Sentencing Flexibility for Those Convicted Under GA’s Seven Deadly Sins Law

Georgia carries out the harshest punishments in the nation for seven crimes: murder, rape, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, kidnapping, or armed robbery. The 18-year-old “Seven Deadly Sins” law mandated mandatory sentences that range from ten years to life. One hundred percent of the sentence must be served.

Lawmakers are being asked to take a second look at the law to allow the courts some flexibility in sentencing, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an article that uses the story of Sarah Page Dukes as the catalyst that finally spoke to enough people over growing concerns that the law is too draconian.

Dukes became addicted to heroin in high school, even though she’d been a promising Sutton Middle School star student. As she became more addicted, she began stealing to support her habit, eventually turning to armed robbery. She eventually robbed her former employer’s store, but even he could see that Sarah needed rehabilitation and petitioned the court, pointing out that incarceration would not benefit her or anyone else and would “only insure that Ms. Dukes revert to drug addiction upon her release.”

Ms. Dukes’ plea deal fell through and she was sentenced under Georgia’s Seven Deadly Sins Law: ten years in prison with no possibility of parole. Now drug-free, Sarah has used the time well, having discovered a talent for teaching other inmates, helping them to earn their GEDs.

Accused of One of the “Seven Deadly Sins” in Georgia? Talk to an Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney

No matter what your stand is on the get-tough law, Georgia taxpayers pay hundreds of millions of dollars to keep convicted felons in prison. When prison budgets (1.1 Billion) strain the State coffers to keep non-violent offenders incarcerated, no-one wins.

If you’ve been accused of one of the 7 deadly sins in Georgia, you need representation from an Atlanta criminal defense attorney with ample experience defending clients accused of a felony crime.

The District Attorney has discretion whether or not to press charges, but his or her job is to seek the maximum punishment for your crime. You need an attorney who knows how to present a convincing argument to the jury while at the same time creating enough question that the DA’s case is based on conjecture and supposition.

Atlanta crime lawyer Lisa Wells works hard to get your charges dropped or reduced to a lesser charge. We’ll hire independent investigators, when necessary, who will re-examine the evidence, including witness statements, and question arrest procedure and the validity of searches, always seeking a “not guilty” verdict.

Don’t give statements or meet with the DA before speaking with defense attorney Lisa Wells. She also assists attorneys from other parts of the state, knowing that a skilled defense team that shares resources is usually able to obtain optimal results. Call today for a free, confidential initial consultation and evaluation of your charges.

Secure a Strong Criminal Defense Attorney When Minor Children are Charged as Adults

In a report by the U.S. Department of Justice on trying a minor as an adult it was found that at the end of the 1990’s and into the early 2000’s there was a spike in juvenile violence that directly impacted changing state transfer laws to their current form where juveniles can be transferred into criminal or adult court. Georgia and nearly every state in the Union expanded the transfer laws to allow, or even require, that minors be prosecuted in the adult criminal court system.

Georgia Minors Prosecuted as Adults

The PBS.org Frontline Show on juvenile to adult criminal prosecution reports that minors have been involved in 25% of all serious violent crimes committed every year for the past 25-years. To add on to that number it is also estimated that for the last two-decades less than 50% of violent crimes committed by juveniles are even reported to the authorities.

Georgia law allows the decision making authority to transfer from judge to prosecutor and it also replaces the individual discretion that a judge or prosecutor may take on transferring a minor to adult criminal court; the decision is made through use of specific criteria. The term “judicial waiver” is used to indicate that the judge “waives” the juvenile court jurisdiction and passes the case over into the adult criminal court system. It is critical to have legal representation from the start of this process – being judged and sentenced as an adult demands a Georgia criminal defense attorney with a history of successful experience.

Atlanta Juveniles Jailed While They Await Trial

Atlanta juveniles can be jailed with adults while they await their trial in Georgia’s criminal court system. The minimum age for criminal responsibility in Georgia is 12 and a minor of that age may find that they come into direct contact with adults charged with violent crimes while being incarcerated. Once an Atlanta Metro area youth has their case transferred as an adult it is critical to have legal representation from the very start – being judged and sentenced as an adult demands an expert Georgia criminal defense attorney with a history of successful experience be on your family’s side.

Cases of Juveniles Prosecuted as Adults

A highly profiled case was that of Michael Phelps who at 15 was a minor charged as an adult in the shooting of one of his schoolmates in Indiana. Channel 8 Wish TV reported that if he had been trialed as a juvenile his time served would have included a more relaxed atmosphere, school, counseling and having a system goal of rehabilitating back into society. Tried as an adult, Phelps will be held by the Indiana Department of Corrections.

Other publicized cases include Cristian Fernandez who was charged with 1st degree murder of his 2 year old half brother. Cristian is 12 and he faces life without parole if convicted. ABC News reports several cases where the juvenile charges were transferred to the adult criminal court: In Florida three teenagers will be prosecuted for attempted 2nd degree murder when they set another teen on fire over a $40 video game debt. In Texas five teens face adult prosecution and judgment in the brutal beating death of 28 year old Jonathan Bird – he had asked two of the teens to stop driving recklessly on his street – five teens returned and hit and kicked him to death in his own yard. In California all the juveniles arrested for the gang rape of a 15-year old girl outside her high school dance are charged as adults. And in Arizona, police are looking for the two teens that pushed another minor into the road where he was struck by three cars and killed.

The brutality and seriousness of crimes being committed by minors today almost certainly will have the court system transfer these cases for adult criminal prosecution. Call the Atlanta juvenile to adult criminal defense attorney Lisa Wells for a free confidential consultation.

Common Crimes Where Georgia Juveniles Are Often Tried as Adults

While some crimes committed by a minor can go to either juvenile court or to the superior adult court system, there are some criminal acts that are typically tried in the Georgia adult court system; these are:

  • Murder by a minor is often transferred over for adult criminal prosecution
  • Rape
  • Sodomy
  • Child molestation
  • Sexual battery
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Armed robbery with the use of a fire arm

Georgia Juvenile to Adult Criminal Defense Attorneys

Call your Atlanta juvenile to adult criminal defense lawyer for the experience and knowledge you need – Lisa Wells has a successful record defending not only adults charged with a crime, but in keeping serious criminal charges made against a minor in the juvenile court system using all legal channels and regulations available to her.

Call Lisa Wells your Atlanta crime lawyer for a free confidential meeting to begin the strategy and foundation of your juvenile to adult criminal charges.