NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro says the punishment does not fit the crime for a 14-year-old juvenile who committed what he calls a reign of terror in the Uptown area last year.
"We have a juvenile offender here who is armed with a gun and is engaged in multiple armed robberies, five armed robberies to be exact and attempted armed robbery involving at least seven victims," says Cannizzaro.
The 14-year-old was arrested last June with four adult co-defendants. One of their alleged victims, K.C. O'Rorke, the lead singer and trumpet player for the popular band 'Flow Tribe'.
"They just rolled up on us, came through the driver's side door, jumped in my car, then pulled guns on us. We basically hit the floor and gave them anything they wanted, the keys, the wallet, everything," says O'Rorke.
The teen pleaded guilty to the armed robbery charges against him, and the Ad-Hoc Judge sentenced him to one year in a youth facility to be followed by 3 years probation. Cannizzaro says while it is a legal sentence, the Judge could have kept the juvenile in custody until his 21st birthday.
"My belief is that an individual with this sort of a violent episode is not going to get the necessary services that he needs in the one year secure care," says Cannizzaro.
According to our partners at NOLA.com/The Times Picayune, the Orleans Public Defender who represented the 14-year-old in court spoke of his 'incredible success' in the Juvenile Justice Department's programs since his arrest. He also said the teen passed every drug test and completed the 8th grade during his time in the programs.
Cannizzaro, though, says without a serious punishment for crimes of violence offenders will likely offend again.
"I think as a result of that we essentially allow the offender to believe there will be no consequences, they become more brazen and we have created criminals who go out and believe that they can do whatever they want without consequences," says Cannizzaro.