Wisconsin law generally states that youth 16 years old and younger will automatically be charged as a juvenile if police suspect them of a crime. Unfortunately for a Sheboygan, Wisconsin, boy, prosecutors are using a section of the law that allows juveniles to be tried as adults after police arrested him for allegedly robbing a 17 year old.
Police are accusing the 16-year-old boy of collaborating with two other teenagers to steal money and marijuana from an older teen. They claim that the boy and a 15 year old used BB guns to hold up the 17 year old. According to the Sheboygan Press, the 17 year old said he was thrown to the ground and that the boys took his backpack before the 17 year old ran away.
Police claim the two boys chased after the third and that one of the two fired at the 17 year old. The 17 year old reported no injuries, although he claims one of the teenagers hit him with a BB. Eventually, however, the teenagers were picked up by a friend.
As police arrived at the driver's house, the 16 year old allegedly tried to run away from police.
Prosecutors have charged the boy with felony armed robbery, marijuana possession and obstructing an officer. For the robbery charge alone, the boy could spend up to 25 years in prison for something he did as a 16 year old.
While prosecutors have the discretion to charge a juvenile as an adult, that section of the law should only ever be used under the most severe and dangerous of crimes. In this case, no one reported any injuries and there seems to have been no threat of injury.
Source: Sheboygan Press, "Sheboygan boy, 16, facing adult charge of armed robbery," Oct. 24, 2011