(CNN) -- A year ago, Maydellyn Lamourt watched her 16-year-old son's dreams fall apart.
The outgoing sophomore who enjoyed playing sports was charged and sentenced as an adult in Connecticut for third-degree assault.
The crime: He and a friend stole a pack of gum from another teen.
Because he entered the adult penal system, the teen's prospects of joining the Marines are dim. His troubles have landed him in an alternative high school.
If Lamourt's son had committed the crime this month, his situation would be different. His record would have been sealed in the juvenile system.
Earlier this month, Connecticut raised from 16 to 17 the age at which a juvenile is automatically prosecuted as an adult. The change comes at a time when the "adult time for adult crime" mentality is being re-examined in several states and challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court.