In some situations it may make sense to plead guilty to a crime or to accept a plea deal. Because this is an extremely serious move, however, it should only be done after consulting a criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can help explain both what a suspect’s rights are, what rights he or she will be giving up by entering a guilty plea and what the possible punishment will be. It is likely that a 17-year-old boy who is facing rape charges in St. Paul was working very closely with his attorney before he accepted a plea deal.
Last month, the 17-year-old agreed to be tried as an adult and to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree criminal sexual conduct. It is likely that he will spend eight years in prison, but he must first testify against the other suspects before he is sentenced.
On Nov. 17, the 17-year-old was with eight other teenagers and young men at a home on White Bear Avenue when two teenage girls at the house became frightened and tried to go to their car. A 24-year-old gang member told the 17-year-old to get one of the girls and he reluctantly worked with a 15-year-old to bring one of the girls back into the home.
From there, one of the men raped the girl as the other men watched or held the girl down.
Perhaps because of the nature of the crime or because of the teenager’s age, he chose to plead guilty instead of go through a trial. The decision to enter a guilty or no-contest plea is intensely personal and it cannot be made by anyone but a suspect. Despite this, a Minnesota suspect can and should work with an attorney to better understand his or her case and situation before entering a guilty plea. A rash decision could lead to a lifetime of regret.
Source: Pioneer Press, “St. Paul: 17-year-old admits in gang rape of girl, 14,” Emily Gurnon, July 25, 2012