BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Following two tragic cases of carjacking where the drivers were severely injured or killed, one legislator is looking to up the punishment for juveniles.
Early last year, a woman was killed in New Orleans when a group of teenagers carjacked her. Now state Rep. Laurie Schlegel, a Metairie Republican, is looking to make sure juveniles who commit this crime serve a sentence in jail.
“When you talk about carjacking, it’s a very serious and violent crime, one woman lost her life,” Schlegel said. “She got stuck with the car and her arm was severed. Another lady was run over and now she’s just learning how to walk.”
Schlegel has filed HB 84 which would remove the option for probation for juveniles convicted of carjacking. She believes they have to be held accountable.
“When people don’t suffer consequences for their behavior, they’re going to be more likely to continue them,” Schlegel said.
Adults are already not eligible for probation for these charges. Schlegel said in her district the number of carjackings has risen over the years and a lot of the suspects are in the 14-18 age range.
“Our society recognizes that this is a serious violent crime and adults cannot get probation. I believe that the same should be for juveniles,” Schlegel said.
When asked about tackling the root cause, she said she is for a holistic approach as well as holding people accountable. She plans to bring a House resolution to take a closer look at the mental health issues in juveniles across the state, which could have an impact on crime.
The regular legislative session starts on April 10.