Bill to make carjacking equivalent to armed robbery for teens advances

A bill making its way through the Louisiana Legislature would treat carjacking the same as armed robbery, a crime that doesn't allow for probation as a possible
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 6:04 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 25, 2023 at 6:17 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Pretty soon, juveniles convicted of carjacking might not be eligible for probation. It’s one lawmaker’s solution to cracking down on carjacking. She said teenagers are currently taking full advantage of how the law is written.

What this would do is essentially treat carjacking the same as armed robbery, a crime that doesn’t allow for probation as a possible punishment. The uptick in carjackings may come down by keeping these teens off the streets. In 2018, juveniles in Louisiana were behind 28 carjackings in the state. Fast forward to 2023 and we’ve seen that trend heading in one direction.

“So, it jumped up in 2021, so just in a couple of years, 72, and then last year, the most updated was around 52 carjackings,” said Rep. Laurie Schlegel, R-Metairie, when presenting HB 84.

Last year, a lady named Linda Frickey lost her life when her arm got caught in her car and was separated from her while a group of teens took off in her car.

Another woman is learning to walk again after being run over by her own vehicle. Rep. Schlegel doesn’t want teens who commit these crimes to be eligible for probation, just like an adult.

While the proposal was accepted by most of the House Criminal Justice Committee, others had some concerns.

“And you believe those two crimes are parallel with each other and should be treated the same?” asked Rep. Marcus Bryant, D-New Iberia.

“Oh, 100%, it’s a very violent crime, especially when you think of a woman sitting there and being yanked out of the car, her arm got stuck with the car, got severed, and she died,” replied Rep. Schlegel.

“I’m opposed to carjacking, but certainly, if somebody comes up to me with a weapon, I would think that would be more dangerous and should be handled differently,” added Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge. “I don’t think that we should be putting things into law that does not necessarily mirror where we’re trying to rehabilitate people.”

However, that argument fell flat for the rest of the panel.

“It’s been proven over and over again and if you can keep them off the street whether it be during probation or when they were sentenced because of their crimes, they can’t recommit because they’re in jail,” said Rep. Raymond Garofalo Jr., R-Chalmette.

With all but one member of the committee voting in favor, the bill lives to see another day. It will next go to the House floor.

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