MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis carjacking victim says she feels re-traumatized after a judge sentenced her teenaged attacker to house arrest.
The victim, who only wants to be identified as Susie, says she found out the hard way that juvenile cases are complicated.
“I was very upset, sat on the call crying. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Susie said.
She was originally relieved when police made an arrest in her October carjacking case in south Minneapolis.
“He was the main one that came at me with his arms open and pushed me to the ground, and did the majority of the kicking and hitting,” Susie said.
A fingerprint in her recovered SUV led police to the 16-year-old suspect, already in jail for another crime. She identified him in a line-up.
“And I felt great satisfaction from that,” Susie said.
What she didn’t expect is that the teen wouldn’t serve any more time in juvenile detention.
“That, as a juvenile, it’s a slap on the wrist,” Susie said.
Her attacker took a plea. According to court documents, the teen had 10 pending charges in Hennepin County. In this case, he was put on something called Extended Jurisdiction Juvenile, or EJJ, which puts him on probation until he turns 21. WCCO asked Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to explain.
“That’s halfway between being treated as a delinquent in the juvenile system and being treated as an adult. You get one last shot at the juvenile system, but if you screw up, you’re going to do 58 months of adult time,” Freeman said.
That was Hennepin County’s part of the plea. The sentencing went to where the teen lives, in Benton County. A judge there sentenced him to 60 days house arrest, plus apology letters to his victims. WCCO reached out to the Benton County Attorney’s Office and Benton County Public Defender’s Office. As of 10 p.m. on Tuesday, WCCO had received no reply.
“This may not be as long a penalty as … the woman who was carjacked would like, but it’s not an unusual sentence,” Freeman said. “I think what we’re seeing in the juvenile system is we’re trying to rehabilitate the kid.”
It is tough to hear for a victim who fears the teen will strike again.
“Felt like it had all happened for nothing and no one really cared,” Susie said.
There have been 236 carjackings reported in Minneapolis since police started keeping track in September. Fifty-four took place since just the beginning of the New Year.