Does "Youth Offender" Mean Leniency? - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

Does "Youth Offender" Mean Leniency?

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The teen charged with multiple counts of heinous acts against five victims has been charged not as an adult, but rather as a youthful offender. Some folks may wonder why?

"The only way that he could ever, anybody could be charged as an adult under the age of 18 is if they've committed murder in the first degree," said Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler.

Nevertheless, being charged as a youthful offender shouldn't be confused for leniency. Y.O. is the middle ground between juvenile and adult, and there's nothing lenient about the potential punishments.

"Under the Youthful Offender statue, the range of punishment is the same as what it would be as an adult. So, in this instance, one crime that is alleged to have been committed is first degree burglary. Range of punishment of first degree burglary is 7 to 20 years, that would be the adult sentence," he said.

What's more, the trial process has the look and feel of an adult's as well.

"Other than the fact that he's charged as a youthful offender, the track for him will be very similar to what adult court would be. He'll be in an adult court, those proceeding will be open to the public," he said.

As to what kind of time he could be looking at? For now we're just at the starting line.

"That's much further down the line to even be talking about what potential punishment he could be facing," said Kunzweiler.

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