Prosecutor takes tough stance on juvenile crime

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CLEVELAND - The Fox 8 I-Team has uncovered new plans for cracking down on juvenile crime, especially after a violent month and deadly weekend, when five teens were shot and a 12-year-old died.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley says his office will be pushing to prosecuting violent teenagers offenders as adults.

Prosecutors noted that out of the thousands of cases in juvenile court, they are now prosecuting this year about 607 juveniles who used a gun to commit a violent crime. That figure includes prosecuting 26 juveniles on murder charges.

“There is no free pass if you are committing violent acts within Cuyahoga County,” O’Malley said. “I will be filing charges to bind them over to adult court.”

O’Malley’s actions brings a little peace to one grieving father. Louis Velez says his 24-year-old son, Emaunel, died a few days ago from injuries sustained in a car crash. The crash happened on Cleveland’s east side November 16, after juveniles in a stolen car were fleeing from police and struck a car.

“They were in the wrong the whole way,” said Louis Velez. “My son is never coming back and his friend may never wake up.”

Several business owners, as well as those living in Cleveland agree that many juvenile offenders need stiffer sentences.

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