An elderly criminal defendant who commits a crime is in an especially difficult position. What does the criminal justice system do with a defendant who has violated the law but who is of an age where it makes no sense to put him in jail? An elderly defendant can be someone who kills their aged and desperately ill spouse, acts out because of conflicting medications and a diminished mental state or perhaps someone who has committed an economic crime in an effort to make ends meet when he is on a fixed income.
Recent examples in the court system point out the difficulties in representing defendants who are elderly. In an economic crime like Worker’s Compensation Fraud an elderly defendant might continue to work after getting injured on the job simply to ensure that he is able to pay the bills. Of course, it is illegal to work without reporting that fact while receiving Worker’s Compensation benefits. This is because those benefits are based on the theory that the defendant isn’t working.
However, Worker’s Compensation benefits rarely allow the recipient to pay his bills. Many times young and old alike are tempted to work even though they are not supposed to while getting Worker’s Compensation benefits. If one gets benefits, those benefits will be cut or even terminated if the defendant goes back to work. If an elderly defendant is working to supplement his income and gets hurt he may be unable to even pay for his medicine and necessities of life.