MPD Explains Lack of Charges for Two Juveniles

After two boys, 12 and 14 years old, accused of robbing a woman at gunpoint and stealing her vehicle, are not facing any legal punishment, many have questioned why no charges pressed.

The Meridian police chief has previously reminded the public, "If they don't press charges, the police can also press charges."

Captain Dean Harper of the Meridian Police Department says the two boys cannot be charged with any crime because of their juvenile status.

"We have spoken to the folks in Jackson who oversee juvenile law and procedures," Harper said. "There is nothing we can do."

A juvenile cannot be charged with a crime unless the victim presses charges or there is a crime against the state. Police did not catch the boys stealing the car or with the gun, so those charges are not an option. Although the victim identified the boys as the ones who robbed her, Captain Harper says their hands are tied until the victim decides to move forward with charges.

"We're not trying to shy away from it. It is not the Police Department's fault, the judge's fault or the district attorney's fault," Harper said. "It's those guys that sit over in Jackson and write the laws. If they rewrote the law and said we could do it, I can assure you we would charge them."

The victim has not said why she isn't pressing charges. When Chief James Lee first took office, he reminded citizens why talking to police is so important.

"I really want them to do the right thing because this time they robbed you," Lee said. "Who are they going to rob next?"

If the victim presses charges, both boys would be charged with a felony. The 14-year-old would be charged as an adult for committing a felony with a gun.