Establishing a consistent way to deal with elderly offenders is not easy. Factors such as age, health, crimes committed, and character of the defendant affect the situation. Certainly, every case is different. Also, the court determines how to proceed given the individual circumstances of each case. However, when senior citizens get involved in crime, issuing prison sentences and other punishments can become difficult. The fact that judges, lawyers, and jury members bring their own biases and opinions to each case only adds to the complexity of punishing elderly offenders.
There are many different opinions on how to reprimand elderly criminal offenders. Opponents of harsh penalties for senior citizens argue that many elderly people have chronic health problems. These should prevent them from having to serve lengthy jail sentences. Proponents of harsh sentencing for older people claim that everyone must equally accept the consequences of their actions under the law. Just because they are older does not mean that they should not accept the consequences of their actions.
Types of Crimes
In general, it appears that when the elderly commit minor crimes, such as shoplifting, prosecutors are more likely to give a minimum punishment. Or, they might dismiss the charges altogether. They are more likely to do this for the elderly than they are for younger adults. For misdemeanor shoplifting and petty theft, elderly offenders consistently receive fines as opposed to jail sentences. In addition, even elderly citizens charged with felonies tend to receive more lenience than younger adults in some states. However, leniency is not the overwhelming rule for all elderly offender cases. In some cases, elderly defendants can get convicted more than younger defendants. Many judges are not more sympathetic to senior citizens based on their age.
Just as with police officers, many other people involved in the criminal justice system have certain biases toward elderly criminal offenders. The results of research and studies is certainly mixed, although it is clear that in some cases, for good or for bad, age plays some type of role in the way that older offenders get processed and sentenced. While it is important to take all facts of a case, including a defendant’s motives, impairments, and character, into consideration when determining punishments for a crime, blatant biases should not affect a case to a significant extent.
If you feel that you got unjustly punished for a crime based on your age, you should contact a Connecticut criminal defense lawyer immediately. By proving this bias and how it affects your case, you could have the case dismissed. You can check out our website for more information.