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A young adult entered a home where he used to rent a room in order to retrieve a piece of workout equipment. The home owner would not let him have the equipment until he paid past rent money so he entered the home when nobody was home. I might also note that he was forced to move out without being properly evicted. This young man was charged with theft and burglary and even though he has evidence that the equipment belonged to him, has since plead guilty.

A 13 year old juvenile, who remained in the car the entire time while this young man entered the house, has been charged with trespass and theft by receiving. How in the world can this 13 year old be charged under these circumstances? Can the prosecution possibly have a case?

  • The prosecution is taking it easy on him. – Putvi Apr 13 at 18:43
  • What jurisdiction is this in? country, and if the US or another federal country, state/province? – David Siegel Apr 13 at 19:31
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A young adult entered a home where he used to rent a room in order to retrieve a piece of workout equipment... This young man was charged with theft and burglary and even though he has evidence that the equipment belonged to him...

This is your assessment of the situation, not the prosecutors' or courts'. Local or state laws may see this entry and property removal as trespassing and/or theft, even when there is a dispute over past rent or the past lease.

I might also note that he was forced to move out without being properly evicted.

That's a completely different situation and is a civil offense, not a criminal offense, and it does not typically give an evictee a right to trespass and remove property from the past residence.

How in the world can this 13 year old be charged under these circumstances?

The prosecutor with jurisdiction (city, county or state) makes the decision to prosecute on what they see as the strength of the evidence, the severity of the crime and the likelihood of conviction by a jury or judge. Since the subject of prosecution is a minor, other local laws may come into play regarding who in the judicial system has input into the decision to prosecute.

If you feel like the prosecutor is overstepping, tell the 13 year old's parent or guardian to talk to their lawyer (court appointed, or privately hired) and consult with the prosecutor to drop or amend the charges.

Can the prosecution possibly have a case?

The prosecutor must feel they have a case; if the case goes to court, it's up to the judge and jury to weigh the evidence and convict if that evidence is beyond a reasonable doubt; or if the judge or jury feels that the evidence is not convincing, they acquit. Since the subject of prosecution is a minor, other local laws may come into play regarding if the court procedure must be a jury trial, a bench trial, or some form of mediation and/or restitution.

  • The parents have hired a private attorney but he does not seem very determined. The whole juvenile justice system seems to be more about getting a kid into the system and under the control of probation authorities than it is about due process. Everybody just seems to be going through the motions of justice. – Mark Slader Apr 13 at 18:12
  • @MarkSlader then get a better attorney? – Moo Apr 14 at 21:10
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No offense, to you, but of course that is theft and theft by receiving.

If you enter a house that is not yours and you take something it is theft, no matter what. The kid in the car took something that was stolen.

Even, if you say he didn't steal something, he still broke into a house, so what is the point?

Really, entering a house to take something is burglary. The prosecutor is taking it easy on those kids instead of charging them with burglary.

  • I don't think you comprehended my question very well. The adult was charged and plead guilty to burglary and theft. The 13 year old didn't drive the car, didn't enter the house, didn't even leave the car. The understanding of the 13 year old was that the adult was going into the house to get his equipment back. – Mark Slader Apr 13 at 19:16
  • I should have said was in the car instead of drove, but the adult was not allowed in the house and stole something from it. The 13 year old came into possession of that thing. That is illegal. – Putvi Apr 13 at 19:19
  • I wish both of them all the best, but you shouldn't hang out with people who steal. There is nothing that you can do after the fact. – Putvi Apr 13 at 19:24

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