Audrie Potts Parents Wants Suspects Charged as Adults - NBC Bay Area

Audrie Potts Parents Wants Suspects Charged as Adults

Emotionally, this is a difficult story for all of those involved. Legally it is complex bas well.



    Arturo Santiago explains the legal decisions that go into charging juveniles as adults. (Published Monday, April 15, 2013)

    An attorney for the parents of a girl who was sexually assaulted and later hanged herself says she awoke from her battery with drawings and the name of one suspect scrawled on intimate parts of her body.
    Attorney Robert Allard and the family of 15-year-old Audrie Pott also announced plans on Monday to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the three, 16-year-old suspects as well as their parents and the family of a girl who hosted the Labor Day party where their daughter was attacked.
    Allard says that the photos show enough of the girl's clothing had been removed to put markings on her body. He says she passed out after drinking alcohol mixed with Gatorade.

    The girl's parents want the teen suspects charged as adults.

    Emotionally, this is a difficult story for all of those involved. Legally it is complex as well.

    The decision whether to charge the suspects as adults is in the hands of the Santa Clara County district attorney.

    Audrie Pott's Parents Speak Out

    [BAY] Audrie Pott's Parents Speak Out
    The family of Audrie Pott - a teen who has now become a national symbol for sexual assault and cyber bullying - spoke publicly for the first time Monday, using their newfound status to urge for tougher laws and implore anyone who knows about their daughter's case to come forward. Kris Sanchez reports.
    (Published Monday, April 15, 2013)

    Legal experts said most of the time the DA relies on a statute called 707B when making the decision.

    The state of California outlines 30 serious and or violent crimes in the 707B statute that allows prosecutors to automatically charge juveniles as adults. When one of those crimes is committed, the DA's office can either make a direct filing in adult court or it can call for a fitness hearing to see if the minor should be tried as a juvenile or as an adult.

    But what happens if a minor commits a crime that is serious but not on the current 707B list?

    Raw Video: Sheila Pott Speaks About Daughter's Sex Assault, Suicide

    [BAY] Raw Video: Sheila Pott Speaks About Daughter's Sex Assault, Suicide
    Sheila Pott, the mother of Audrie Pott, speaks at a news conference on April 15, 2013 about her Saratoga 15-year-old being sexually assaulted in September and taking her own life.
    (Published Monday, April 15, 2013)

    Deputy District Attorney Jaron Shipp explains.
    "For example there are some crimes that are sexual assaults say when someone is sexually assaulted when they are unconscious or when they're intoxicated - something of that nature," Shipp said.

    So even if a juvenile commits a crime that is not on the list of 707B crimes, that juvenile can still be charged as an adult.
    "That crime isn't a 707B crime, it's a 707A crime but it's obviously very serious. We take it very seriously and if a person or a minor were to commit a string of those crimes or one of those crimes we could deem it that it's necessary that they be prosecuted as an adult," Shipp said.

    The district attorney is prohibited by law from commenting on that case specifically, but in regard to charging juveniles as adults, the DA does take into consideration the victim, the seriousness and sophistication of the crime and if the juvenile would be a danger to the public in the future.

    "It's our job to keep our heads, to analyze the law. Analyze the facts and make the appropriate decision to make sure that this person will be held accountable and that we get justice for victims," Gibb said.

    Juvenile court cases are confidential meaning there will be no open court hearing. If they turn into a 707B case and go on to adult court, all that information immediately becomes part of the public record.