What’s the criteria for ‘youthful offender status’?

By WVUA 23 News Student Reporter Emily Caswell

Michael Davis was arrested and charged with capital murder earlier this year alongside former Alabama basketball player Darius Miles. Davis has since filed for youthful offender status and is scheduled to have a hearing in July of this year. Miles had a bond hearing Wednesday and was denied a bond by Judge Daniel Pruet.

The Alabama Youthful Offender Act is designed to give young adults the chance to avoid the negative consequences of being charged as an adult in the hopes that a more lenient punishment will motivate them to make better choices as adults in the future. Anyone in the state of Alabama who is under the age of 21 when charged with a crime has the right to apply for youthful offender status. 

Davis was 20 on the day 23-year-old Birmingham mother Jamea Harris was shot to death just off the Strip near the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa.

Local attorney Joel Sogol said many factors are looked at when determining whether or not an individual should be charged as a juvenile, including any prior criminal history and the actual crime itself.

“Youthful offender is for people between the ages of 18 and 21 at the time of the offense,” Sogol said. “It doesn’t necessarily matter when you go to court; it’s your age at the time of the offense. It’s with the understanding that sometimes people who are not quite grown make mistakes.”

If an individual is granted youthful offender status and is found or pleads guilty they can serve a maximum of three years in a juvenile detention facility and a maximum of three years probation.

Tuscaloosa County Circuit Judge Daniel Pruet will make a decision in jUly regarding Davis’ youthful offender status.

As of now, Davis will remain in jail on capital murder charges. If the judge does not grant Davis’ request, he will be charged as an adult.

Davis and Miles have been in jail since Jan. 15.

Categories: Crime, Featured, Local News