Four teenagers were arrested after a fight at Oscar Smith Middle School last Halloween. The young students were 13, 16, 17, and 17 years old and had been skateboarding before encountering another group of teens and starting to fight. WAVY News Covered the event when it happened. The full list of charges were maiming by mob, malicious wounding, conspiring to commit malicious wounding, conspiracy to commit maiming, attempted malicious wounding and attempted maiming by mob. Maiming by Mob is from the Virginia Code Section 18.2-41 and if it were committed by an adult, it would be a Class 3 felony. Malicious Wounding in violation of Virginia Code Section 18.2-51, and would also be a Class 3 felony if committed by an adult.
Here, the offenses were committed by juveniles, and if the court chooses to treat them as juveniles, they might avoid a felony record and the most severe felony punishments. There is also the possibility that some will be treated and tried as adults and would face adult penalties if convicted of those crimes. Given the news coverage, it appears that many young people were present at the scene of these fights, not just these four. Which may raise proper questions about whether the correct suspects have been identified, and about whether all the suspects have been identified.
A story like this always makes me think of the parents — both the parents of those children who may have been injured, and the parents of those children who may have instigated the fight. Many parents suffer great distress upon realizing their child has been involved in these kinds of incidents; and feel a bit lost about what to do next.
Regardless of what happens in this particular case, a case which I have no connection to whatsoever, it is critically important that anyone — juvenile or adult — charged with serious crimes (or delinquency offenses, if juvenile) seek good legal counsel. Our legal system functions best when competent lawyers represent all parties involved.