Adolescent murderer on trial.

From CNN Online:

What, if any, is the advantage of trying a kid as an adult? If tried as a juvenile, does the kid automatically walk at 18? Moreover, what is the deciding factor in trying a kid as an adult, the severity of the crime?

I think in this kids case, it was warranted.

He had 22 police “contacts” before this incident when he was 11, five involving a gun. He was obviously a continuing danger to society.

Some police official on TV a few years back said that our juvenile justice system was intended to deal with truancies, petty thefts, acts of petty vandalism, and other misdemeanors. It was not intended to handle kids who had become precocious hardened criminals.

One consequence of the fact that precocious hardened criminals are being thrown into Juvenille Hall is that Juvenille Hall has become every bit as bad as a state prison, with gangs and forced sodomy and unspoken violence and all the rest.

Personally, I feel that trying someone for a felony as a juvenille should not mean he has to be sentenced to the same kind of juvenille facility that lesser delinquents are sentenced to. There ought to be a separate Juvenille Hall for juvenille felons with stricter security. (Assuming there isn’t already.)

I’m not intending to hijack anything, but I find it very interesting that:

At age 14, Americans can get married (in some states) but can’t drive.

At 16, we trust kids with our SUVs but don’t trust them to vote.

At 18, people can go to war, but cannot drink a beer.

Now it seems that at 13, kids don’t know enough or have sound enough judgement to drink, screw, vote, or drive, but do know enough to be held accountable for murder.

I’m not saying that the kid shouldn’t be held accountable. IMO, he needs to be put down like a rabid dog or locked in an oubliette until he dies.

Still and all, it’s interesting . . . I wonder at what point do kids take responsibility for themselves.


A few folks have been spouting off about how his mother should do time in the cell adjacent to his. Evidently, they are unaware that his mother had turned him in on several occasions, trying to have him declared incorrigible. The police balked, as did the social workers involved. At the trial she said that she knew something like this was going to happen but that no one would help her.

Go figger.

andros wrote:

And herein lies the problem. 13-year-olds should be able to screw! :slight_smile:

I’ve heard last night that this kid has an IQ in the 60’s. Maybe standard juvi home isn’t right for him. But something certainly had to be done to get him out of society.

As has also been posted here, the mother had turned him in for previous infractions and tried to get him declared incorrigible. Now, did the boy suddenly turn this way? I think not. She must have some responsibility for his resultant behavior.

Everyone feels sorry for this boy, but what about the victim’s family? They get their touching interview with Katie Couric, but that’s about it.

(Sorry, this started to sound more like something that should be in the BBQ Pit.)

To address the original post:

The trial of juveniles as adults has developed as a way to avoid the consequences of developed juvenile law. Juvenile law was developed over time to treat youth as malleable someday adults, who, through more leniant and more focused treatment of the cause of their anti-social behaviour would be able to become law-abiding adults. This was combined with a feeling that a juvenile shouldn’t be treated similarly to an adult for similar lapses in behaviour, because the mens rea of the young person isn’t as bad. In essence, a young person doesn’t really understand as well as an adult why what he does is wrong, so don’t punish him as harshly and let him have a second chance by reforming him and releasing him at or about the time he reaches adulthood.

In states like Michigan, there have been a concerted effort to overcome this institutionalized philosophy regarding juvenile criminals by treating certain of them as if they were adults. This means that Nathaniel Abraham will not be being released at or about the age of 21 - 25 like he would for the same conviction as a juvenile. Whether or not this is a good idea, and whether or not it should have been applied to this child is up for debate.

What about the simple difference between right and wrong?? If a child, at age 11 hasn’t figured out that it is wrong to kill another human being, then either they have severe developmental/emotional problems and should be under psychiatric care, or Mom and Dad just simply didn’t do their jobs and teach their child the difference in the first place, which means that the blame for anything rests solely on their heads.