Sleepwalking Teen Who Killed Sibling: Adult or Juvenile Charges?

A judge in Colorado Springs is taking this weekend to decide whether a 13 year old, who fatally shot his brother and stabbed and shot his mother (she survived) should be tried as a teen or adult.

Experts testified the boy was sleep-walking and in a trance at the time, unaware of what he was doing. He had no prior history of misconduct. His parents are pleading with the court to have him tried as a juvenile. The prosecutors want him tried as an adult for second-degree murder.

Daniel Gudino is accused of shooting his 9-year-old brother, Ulysses Jr., to death and shooting and stabbing his mother, Marina, on May 18, 2009, in the family’s home at 1837 Chapel Hills Drive.

Marina Gudino told 4th Judicial District Judge David L. Shakes that her son should not be punished for their failure to recognize the seriousness of his symptoms. Doctors testified during the week that the boy suffered from sleep disorders, hallucinations and possibly a developing mental illness.

The judge has heard 40 hours of testimony on the issue. Of course he should be tried as a juvenile. It's why we have a juvenile justice system. This case also shows why it is critical there be independent and neutral judicial oversight of these charging decisions, and that prosecutors not be allowed to make the final call on their own.

< Happy Mother's Day | Kent State Tape Shows Order to Shoot >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Confusing Indeed! (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by squeaky on Sun May 09, 2010 at 01:43:20 PM EST
    Senior Deputy District Attorney Shannon Gerhart asked Shakes to either try Gudino as an adult on second-degree murder, with a maximum sentence of 48 years, or try him in juvenile court on first-degree murder charges, with a maximum sentence of seven years.

    But there should be not be any confusion whatsoever as the status of the child as a minor.

    I never understood how that there is never any question about the status of a minor regarding laws preventing them from doing things that adults can enjoy, and laws punishing adult's for improper relations with minors, yet when minors are involved in a crime the question of their status as a minor always is questioned.

    Insane! (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by mexboy on Sun May 09, 2010 at 02:00:36 PM EST
    How can a child become an an adult under certain circumstances but not others?

    If the legal system insist on continuing their illogical and unjust application of the law, then we should recognize this as a precedent for children to be recognized as adults in other circumstances.

    Let's see their rational when children go to court demanding the right to vote, drink, drive, own guns, get married, have sex with whomever they want, get credit cards, go to war, etc.

    I have never understood the stup*d mentality of some prosecutors and judges.

    More effective to address the CO (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Sun May 09, 2010 at 02:16:21 PM EST
    Legislature, as the provision for court's discretion to order juvenile tried as an adult is statutory.  

    Court's discretion (none / 0) (#11)
    by sj on Sun May 09, 2010 at 02:25:53 PM EST
    It still has some.  In your link, the guidelines are shown (which are largely bs, in my opinion.  law 'n order run amok) and followed by:

    If the juvenile satisfies one of these criteria, the juvenile court must then determine, after investigation and a hearing, if it would be contrary to the best interests of the juvenile or of the public to retain jurisdiction and try the juvenile in juvenile court.

    Not seeing where it's contrary to the best interests of the juvenile OR the public to keep him in juvenile court where at least theoretically he could get the help he needs.


    In my experience, juvenile court judges (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Sun May 09, 2010 at 02:31:07 PM EST
    are not quick to grant a prosecution petition a juvenile be tried as an adult.  

    I'm hoping (none / 0) (#14)
    by sj on Sun May 09, 2010 at 02:55:48 PM EST
    that your experience remain consistent.

    Whats with our developing hatred of children (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Jen M on Sun May 09, 2010 at 03:45:48 PM EST
    How can a 15 year old, who is physically different from an adult, who's brain is still not finished growing and is physically different from an adult's be tried as if s/he had the maturity of an adult.

    A thirteen year old not only does not have the experience of an adult, but doesn't have a fully developed brain. S/he isn't capable of the emotional maturity of an adult.

    To top it off this one may be a sleepwalker and developing mental illness?

    So tell me again why statutory rape laws exist?

    Trying 13 year old children as adults isn't justice, it is child abuse for the sake of revenge.

    It has nothing to do with hatred with children (none / 0) (#19)
    by nyjets on Sun May 09, 2010 at 05:20:07 PM EST
    There are some children who are remarkable mature for there age. Should they be given a light sentence just because of their age.
    Furthermore, I am sorry, even a kid should know that murder is wrong and if they commit murder they will be punished.The notiong that their brains are still developing does not change that.
    Trying a 13 years as adult is justice depending on the nature of the crime and the kid.

    the part of the brain (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Jen M on Sun May 09, 2010 at 06:25:35 PM EST
    that is physically immature is the one that controls impulses.

    I suppose it might not be child abuse for revenge it could be child abuse for political gain by pandering to the people who want revenge.


    A 13-yr. old with no prior contact (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Sun May 09, 2010 at 12:22:30 PM EST
    with law enforcement should probably be tried as a juvenile, although the severity of the crimes and multiple victims may weigh in favor of the trial judge determining he should be tried as an adult.

    Query:  any known instance of a successful defense of sleep walking to charges involving murder of one victim with a gun and attempted murder of another with a knife?

    The severity of the crime (none / 0) (#2)
    by sj on Sun May 09, 2010 at 01:27:38 PM EST
    doesn't make him any LESS of a juvenile.  He is 13 years old.  That is a juvenile.  The whole "law and order" mentality is going collectively nuts.

    Of course not. But is a factor the (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Sun May 09, 2010 at 01:36:13 PM EST
    judge considers under CO law:  link

    But if the crime is serious enough (none / 0) (#5)
    by nyjets on Sun May 09, 2010 at 01:51:37 PM EST
    If the crime is serious enough, perhaps he should not be treated as a juvenile. The punishment in juvenile court is much less than adult court. Therefore,  if the the crime is serious enough, he should be treated as an adult so that the juvenile is sufficiently punished.

    sufficiently punished? (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by sj on Sun May 09, 2010 at 02:16:30 PM EST
    And when does he get sufficiently helped?  And where?  In an adult facility?  He suffers from "sleep disorders, hallucinations and possibly a developing mental illness".  How does incarceration of this juvenile in an adult facility, with adult sentencing guidelines, serve society?

    Apparently it's more important to "sufficiently punish" than to serve society.


    at least in CA, no info re CO law, (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Sun May 09, 2010 at 02:19:38 PM EST
    even if the court determines a juvenile will be tried as an adult, the trial court has discretion to sentence the defendant to be housed at juvenile facility until age 25 and then transferred to adult corrections facility.  

    IMO (none / 0) (#13)
    by nyjets on Sun May 09, 2010 at 02:37:16 PM EST
    Sufficiently punishing a criminal, regardless of age, does serve society.

    Don't entirely disagree with you. (none / 0) (#15)
    by sj on Sun May 09, 2010 at 03:04:39 PM EST
    I just believe that "sufficient" is relative.  And age, maturity level, and circumstances are all factors in that.

    Just because it doesn't serve my outrage level isn't a good enough reason.  


    And your proof is what? (none / 0) (#30)
    by jondee on Tue May 11, 2010 at 06:34:43 PM EST
    that people would be even MORE violent in this country, if we were less draconian?

    He is a child. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by mexboy on Sun May 09, 2010 at 02:23:54 PM EST
    One of the reasons for the juvenile system is that children do not yet have the life experience to  fully understand the consequences of their actions.

    The mother is right. It is the parents responsibility to watch for the child's welfare. I am not saying she is responsible for the tragedy.  


    Sleepwalking-nothing to do with juv-adult decision (none / 0) (#18)
    by Mitch Guthman on Sun May 09, 2010 at 04:51:03 PM EST
    I think this is conflating two very different issues.  I do not seem any reason why the testimony on the sleepwalking should have any bearing on the question of whether this defendant should be tried as an adult.  It would not seem relevant to any of the traditional distinctions between adults and children.  I just don't seem the relevance of the sleepwalking to whether he should be tried as an adult.   By the way, I'm not making an argument either way about where this kid should be tried and I'm open to any reasonable explanation of how the sleepwalking relates to that decision.

    On the other hand, if the finder of facts accepts this expert testimony then that pretty much resolves the question of where he should be train by making it moot.    If things are as described, the real issue is mens rea.

    weasel talk (none / 0) (#21)
    by diogenes on Sun May 09, 2010 at 10:52:49 PM EST
    "...sleep disorders, hallucinations and possibly a developing mental illness."

    If he is not guilty by reason of insanity, then he can use that defense just as easily in an adult court.  
    If insanity is not a defense, then 13 year olds who shoot their 9 year old brothers and stab their mothers are usually morally warped in some way and will need containment past age 21 for the protection of society.  

    insane or no (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Jen M on Mon May 10, 2010 at 09:27:45 AM EST
    His brain is physically underdeveloped. Impulse control us physically not matured.  The DAs knows that. The judges know that. Everyone knows that.  To choose to ignore it for vengeance? If not criminal it is amoral.

    Check this out: (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by oculus on Mon May 10, 2010 at 05:46:16 PM EST
    ah yes :) (none / 0) (#27)
    by Jen M on Mon May 10, 2010 at 07:22:13 PM EST
    babies are good people.

    How do you feel about...? (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Mon May 10, 2010 at 05:00:06 PM EST
    Parental notification laws in the instances of abortion?

    I have said before (none / 0) (#26)
    by Jen M on Mon May 10, 2010 at 07:18:57 PM EST
    I am torn. Parents need to know, unless they are abusive, then they should not under any circumstances be told.

    Basically you have to leave it up to the kid. Who is probably not 13.


    I guess the thing is (none / 0) (#28)
    by jbindc on Tue May 11, 2010 at 07:28:14 AM EST
    The issue is that the argument put forth here is that teenagers brains are not fully developed, so they should not be treated as adults.  If that's the case, then a) you should be absolute in that teenagers should not have access to birth control or abortion without parental consent, because, after all, teenagers' brains are not fully formed to make adult judgments; OR 2) you should see the fact that it is not as cut and dried as saying a teenager who commits a crime should always be treated as a juvenile.

    Unfortunately, we can't have it both ways.


    you give them birth control (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Jen M on Tue May 11, 2010 at 06:28:43 PM EST
    precisely because they don't have enough judgment.

    Parental consent can result in the hospitalization or death of the child in some families. Honor killings anyone?

    But hey, it is those who hate children (tough on crime) who want parental consent (ie, children of 16 are too immature to decide) and then turn around and prosecute a 13 year old as an adult.

    No indeed, you can't have it both ways.


    Exactly (none / 0) (#31)
    by squeaky on Tue May 11, 2010 at 10:58:07 PM EST