Juvenile Offender Case Studies
Juvenile Offender Case Studies
CASE STUDY ONE: COLLEEN M.
Colleen M. is a 15-year-old Caucasian girl. She has lived in the state for her entire life. Her father abandoned the family when she was an infant and her mother is currently in a drug rehabilitation facility. Colleen has been living on a farm with her aunt. Although she has no prior contact with the law, she admits to having run away from her aunt in the past, though she always returned on her own.
Colleen’s current trouble is centered on a neighbor’s dispute about her dog. After the dog bit the neighbor, the neighbor threatened and attempted to take the dog to animal control. When the neighbor later found Colleen and the dog trespassing on her property, the neighbor verbally threatened to “get” them both. Apparently, the neighbor set fire to a scarecrow on her property to emphasize her point.
At this point, Colleen threw a nearby bucket of liquid on the neighbor. The liquid was later determined to be a pesticide. The pesticide burned the skin on contact and triggered an extreme allergic reaction in the neighbor, resulting in her death. Colleen was charged with involuntary manslaughter and was determined delinquent by the court. Colleen claims that she was simply attempting to douse the fire.
Coincidentally, a few weeks prior, Colleen had been a passenger of a motor home that had collided with a vehicle driven by the neighbor’s sister. This accident resulted in the neighbor’s sister’s death, though it was ruled an accidental homicide. Witnesses report that Colleen took a pair of fancy shoes off the feet of the corpse and immediately put them on her own feet. Colleen defends her actions by claiming that an observer told her to do this.
At the time of her arrest, Colleen’s blood tested positive for opiates. Colleen claims that while traveling with three homeless men, they unknowingly stumbled upon a field of poppies and that before they knew it; the intoxicating aroma caused her to pass out. Colleen claims not to have a drug problem. Colleen states that all she wants to do now is go home and that she misses her Aunt Emily.
CASE STUDY TWO: XANDER L.
Xander L. is a 17-year-old African American male and documented gang member. His prior juvenile adjudications include purse snatching, breaking and entering, and drug possession. His first juvenile adjudication occurred when he was 13 years old. He has served a year of custody in the juvenile correctional facility and has been placed on probation twice previously. His latest arrest is for possession of a concealed weapon, to which he has pled guilty.
Xander lives with his mother in the housing projects. He reports no contact with his father. His mother presently works two jobs. Although she is supportive of him, and Xander reports a close relationship with his mother, she does not approve of his conduct. In the past, she has reported him to the police. Xander indicates that he has dropped out of high school, but would like to get his general equivalency diploma to make his mother proud.