After receiving multiple calls from the public with questions about the minors allegedly involved in the arson investigation, Buchanan County Prosecutor Ron Holliday decided to clarify what his office can and cannot do when minors commit crimes. Missouri law defines a child as someone under 17 years of age. When a child is alleged to have committed a crime, the Buchanan County Juvenile Office handles the “prosecution” instead of the Buchanan County Prosecutor's Office. There are times when a child twelve years of age or older can be prosecuted as an adult in what is referred to as a certification hearing. In order for this to happen, the child must be charged with a felony and then the juvenile officer can request the hearing. The Juvenile Court will then decide whether or not the child will be certified to stand trial as an adult. This is only done after the Court considers several factors such as the seriousness of the offense, the prior record and history of the juvenile, age and maturity level of the juvenile, the facts of the offense, etc.
“There was some confusion among the public with the difference between our office and the Juvenile Office” explained Ron Holliday. “Several people wanted to discuss what happened with some of the minors’ case and we had to explain that our office had not handled those matters.”