State of Washington v. FT

This court case is completed

ACLU-WA filed an amicus brief with other amici in a case in which a juvenile was sentenced to an exceptionally harsh sentence for misdemeanor crimes because the court decided they were unlikely to comply with services in the community. The court reasoned that the juvenile’s victimization in sex trafficking put her in need of a significantly longer sentence in detention in order to provide treatment and “structure.” As a result, she received 27-36 weeks detention for a crime for which sentencing guidelines suggest no more than 30 days. Research demonstrates that detention does not result in rehabilitation for juveniles and, if anything, increases rates of recidivism. This excessive sentence will not do anything to increase the safety and well-being of the juvenile or their community. We asked the court to reverse the sentence and to declare that a history of trauma, vulnerability, and dependency should not be a factor that increases sentences in juvenile cases.