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Adam Stone Defends Teen Accused of Murder, Fights to Prevent Unfair Juvenile Bind-Over

Attorney Adam Stone Serves Sandusky County Teen by Ensuring Fair Treatment

In September 2017, 14-year-old Elijah Starks of Fremont, OH was accused of murdering his cousin, Jaylen Brock. The State filed a motion to have him bound over to adult court, despite the fact that he was only 14 when the alleged murder occurred.

Moved by compassionate and indignation at the unfair motion to try Starks as an adult, Attorney Adam Stone took his case and gathered witnesses to testify about Starks and give the court a more complete perspective on his character and personal history. Several teachers from Fremont Middle School testified (some tearfully) about Starks’ positive behavior in school and the good relationships they shared with him. Starks’ choir teacher, Tammy Martin, said “He’s a sweet boy who was struggling, like a lot of kids do his age, to find their way.”

Even Shirley Stacey, Starks' and Brock’s aunt, said, “I am not in favor of the bind-over. He’s a kid. He does not think like an adult. He should be tried as a juvenile.”

Attorney Stone Challenges Bind-Over to Adult Jurisdiction, Provides Evidence that Starks Is Unfit to Be Tried as an Adult

Several officers from the Department of Youth Services facility at Indian River testified about Starks’ behavior during his detention. There was a point where Starks stole juice packets from a DYS officer and returned them later, and another incident in which he assaulted 5 DYS officials after a meeting with Psychologist John Fabian was cancelled. During his time at the facility, Starks was receiving counseling and therapy for PTSD, ADD, and other mental health issues exacerbated by adolescence and detention.

Attorney Stone presented evidence that Starks was receptive to disciplinary action, remorseful about his actions, and no more than a troubled child. Stone argued that Starks was just, “a kid dealing with frustrations of the system,” and that he acted out against DYS staff, “like a kid.”

Starks leaned on Stone during the closing arguments and cried on his shoulder, just like any normal child. Stone made a strong case for Starks’ youth, lack of prior treatment and diagnoses, physical and mental inability to function as an adult, and unsuitability to be tried as an adult.

Update: Judge Denies State’s Motion to Bind Stark Over to Adult Court

As of July 23, 2018, Judge Brad Smith ruled that jurisdiction over Starks’ case will not be transferred over to adult court, though he will be tried as a child for aggravated murder. Stone brought in 13 witnesses, one of which being a neuropsychologist who affirmed that Starks cannot be regarded as an adult, and Judge Smith ruled in favor of keeping Starks where he belongs: in juvenile court.

This means that even if Starks is convicted of murdering his cousin, he will not be sentenced to life in prison or be subjected to any other adult punishments.

According to a report from the Fremont News Messenger, Dr. Fabian’s testimony was particularly impactful and contributed greatly to Judge Smith’s decision to block the state’s motion to transfer Starks to adult court. Smith’s decision mentions Fabian’s remarks: “In making this decision, the testimony of Dr. Fabian stands out the most persuasively, and as the state argued in closing, his opinion should be given the most weight.”

Judge Smith’s opinion proves that skillful, clear presentation of the facts can lead to just, appropriate treatment for people like Elijah Starks. Our firm is pleased to serve Starks and his family during this matter and proud to have ensured he will be tried in juvenile court.

Crawford County Criminal Defense Attorney Providing Compassionate Legal Help for Minors

Attorney Adam Stone adamantly opposes unfair juvenile bind-over and is passionate about ensuring minors are treated as exactly that when accused of a crime. In cases of serious criminal accusations like murder, courts may rush to try juvenile as adults.

Attorney Stone fights for the rights of minors and fair application of the law to juvenile criminal cases. Our firm can help you protect your child’s rights and work to prevent them from being unjustly bound over to adult jurisdiction. If your child is facing criminal charges, reach out to our team at The Stone Law Firm, LTD today.

Call (419) 610-2032 now to schedule your free consultation with our juvenile criminal defense lawyer in Bucyrus.

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