How to murder your family and not have it affect your future - Canada-style

As we’ve been discussing in this thread, a 13 year old girl has been found guilty of first degree murder for killing her parents and younger brother when she was 12 years old. Our Canadian Young Offenders Act (in Alberta) prevents me from naming her, from any news source from publishing her name, and lawyers can explain this better than I can, but I believe her record will also be sealed/destroyed when she has discharged her sentence. I can apparently be prosecuted for naming her even on an American message board, so I’ll not do so, even though her name is extremely easy to find on the internet.

Theoretically, once she has done her very light jail time for all three pre-meditated murders (I believe the figure of ten years total has been mentioned), she will be free to pursue a life unfettered by that pesky past triple murder. Isn’t that great? She can get jobs and apartments and boyfriends, and nobody needs to ever know that she is a sociopathic multiple murderer. Whee.

I think the YO Act needs a complete re-vamping to take into account the reality of kids doing crimes, and I think there needs to be a whole lot more subjectivity to application of the YO Act - I wouldn’t apply it at all to serious crimes like first degree murder. I think the future people around her need to know what she’s capable of. Killing your entire family is not a youthful prank. But I’m sure she’ll get lots of counselling, and be a completely different person when she gets out of jail, and not likely to continue murdering people who don’t let her do what she wants.

Don’t think young people in Canada aren’t well-aware of this Act, either. I’ve heard young guys talking about turning 18, and how they can’t do any more crimes now. I think the YO Act has conveniently forgotten about the consequences to society of criminal youths in their zeal to protect youths from the consequences of their actions.

Events like this are one reason people in America started increasing punishments against teens who commiteed murder or other brutal crimes. Unfortunately, teens are quite capable of doing crimes just because they want to. Same as adults. And while they are immature, that doesn’t make it any more acceptable or more likely that you’ll commit grave crimes, although it may make it more likely that you’ll annoy people with hell-raising since you know the cops will roll their eyes and mommy and daddy will bail you out.

I’ve never been particularly affected by arguments that “teens are nto capable of understanding the consequences of their actions.” As a former teen myself, I can say this is emphatically not true. Many adults are equally impulsive.

In the end, teenagers aren’t really that different from adults. I think society ought to give them more power AND expect better and more mature behavior from them. As-is, we treat them not much different from 10-year-olds and then expect them to act like adults.

We had a similar thing here when James Buldger was murdered. (they never mentioned this was partly caused by the negligence of his Mother, but then Scousers are notorious for hysterical over reactions, viz Hillsborough, Ken Bigley, Boris Johnson etc, oops sorry just noticed I’m rambling)

To my way of thinking it’s illogical to restrict the freedoms of someone arbitarily by age, but at the same time give them criminal responsibility.

In my opinion, each case should be considered on its individual merits.

That act has been superceded. I haven’t had time to read the details, I just provide this as an FYI.

There was a similar case in the UK in the 1960’s- Mary Bell was the kids name, and she was apparently the victim of pretty bad abuse which probably contributed heavily to her actions. And by all accounts after spending her youth in schools for juvenile offenders, she was released and has had no problems since- IOW, she was rehabiliated and released to society, and has moved on, which I think is the right thing to do with offenders of that age.

Browsing through the Youth Crimina Justice Act (YCJA) which supercedes the Young Offender’s Act, there aren’t many changes that affect the issues I was describing in my OP. The young offender who killed her family may have intensive counselling and rehabilitation, but she also reserves the right to refuse it. There is more thought given to reparation for the victims of young offenders, and that’s good, but my point that this multiple murderer will serve 10 years and then basically have her records sealed still stands.

I am of course no lawyer, and if any Canadian lawyers want to correct me, please feel free.

As further evidence of that, here’s a case that was just featured on a network news feature (48 Hours?), involving the 1982 bludgeoning murder of a Kansas man, in which the man’s wife and her boyfriend were found guilty in the killing. They were each sentenced in 2006 to 10-20 years in prison, meaning they’ll both be eligible for parole in four years.

Four years.

The idea of “Subjectivity” in applying the law frankly strikes me as being the worst idea you could ever possibly implement in a civilized society.

The Young Offenders Act and Youth Criminal Justice Act have worked out very well; youth crime is down, not up, since their introduction.

I see no evidence presented that the girl in question is an irredeemable sociopath (indeed, there is evidence already in the public sphere that she expressed remorse at what she did, which is not behaviour typical of a sociopath) as opposed to just a fool who was taken in by a man twice her age. Absent substantial evidence of her personal beahviour prior to the crimes it strikes me as impossible to say whether or not she’s psychopathic, especially given that it’s hard to determine psychopathy at that age. Even if she is, I’d hardly think the smart thing to do in making public policy is using the worst case of youth crime in a generation as a benchmark for how to treat young offenders.

I disagree with your position in its entirety. It’s proper and, as experience would suggest, cost effective to treat young offenders substantially differently from adults.

In a (very, like last week) recent case here in Knoxville, a young lady and her way over-age-for-her (as if almost twice her age and she’s barely pubescent) boyfriend. They murdered her stepfather (who apparently had done the sane thing and forbid the guy to coe around, smelling trouble) in his sleep, then stuck around to murder her actual mother when she came home to start cooking dinner.

Something like that… I won’t say it’s unforgivable, but it’s certainly inexcusable. And it should not be excused.

I’m ambivalent about this issue, but isn’t expressing remorse exactly what you’d expect a sociopath to do, if it was to her benefit? Actually *feeling *remorse is another matter, however.

Which, as she was not yet a teenager when the crime was committed, has little to do with the case at hand.

I am concerned that the privacy provsions of the act are far too strict. When dealing with civil matters, one should have full disclosure. The act only permits disclosure for a limited number of issues.

To put it another way, if you were in a custody dispute, and the other side was a convicted child molester, wouldn’t you want to be able to use that conviction as evidence?

There was a similar case in Japan about 10 years ago. Sakakibara, aka Boy A, a 14-year-old in Kobe, beat an 10-year-old girl to death with a hammer and then decapitated an 11-year-old boy, leaving his head at the front gate of an elementary school. When caught, he commented that he had deliberately chosen to commit his murders when he did because he knew that at his age he couldn’t legally be given an adult sentence.

He turned 21 in 2004 and was released on probation from juvenile detention with a new identity. In 2005, he was fully released. Every once in a while the gossip papers claim to know where he is.

You know what’s funny? Forgetting to close your browser window after reading this thread and then having a family member use the computer.

“How to murder your family and not have it affect your future? :dubious: Son, is there something wrong?”

Me ----> :smack:

Of course you do. That’s what you do.

That’s an interesting point, Muffin. Are you saying that there could be a situation where you are in a child custody battle with a convicted child molester and not know that they are such?

Yes. And even if you know from word on the street or from other family members, you still can’t use that information in court.

I’m dealing with that at the moment. A bio-dad in his early 20s left an infant with the maternal grandparents and wandered off for four years. He has now re-appeared and has sued for custody. He has a YO record for multiple sexual assaults on children. I want that record and the particulars the crimes he committed for use as evidence against him in the present custody matter. On its face, the Youth Criminal Justice Act prohibits this.

If the matter cannot be settled, I will try to find a way to force disclosure (e.g. try to argue that his right under the act to go public once he is an adult should be used to force him to disclose in the family law matter, but frankly, it will be an uphill battle).

If I can get past the act, then I will be able to say to the judge in the custody matter that the bio-dad has a record for repeatedly sodomizing young boys. If I cannot get past the act, then I am left with only being able to tell the judge about things such as the fellow having no parenting skills and failing to brush the child’s teeth during visitations.

I think that a judge making a serious life altering decision should have the full facts before him or her.

Whoops, change “try to argue that his right under the act to go public once he is an adult should be used to force him to disclose in the family law matter” to “try to argue that it is in the best interests of justice that his right under the act to go public once he is an adult should be used to force him to disclose in the family law matter”. Sorry for the slip.

Youth Criminal Justice Act

I don’t understand what you’re saying about his right to go public; he has the right to make his young offender records public, but why would he ever use it when the YCJA allows those records to be sealed?

I’m not sure how I could live with myself knowing that my professional ethics allowed a young child to be sexually abused when I could have prevented it (if the guy gets custody and he does end up abusing his child, too). There’s what’s right, and then there’s the law. I guess you don’t become a lawyer if you can’t live with what the law makes you do.

I’m in Canada and I don’t like sealing the records either. If a kid exhibits a pattern of say, torturing toddlers, and he was convicted of doing so repeatedly from the age of 10 - 17, I think that should be a factor in deciding whether or not he can be rehabilitated when he’s caught doing it again at 22.

I don’t think children should be evaluated in the same way as adults, there are too may variables that can influence a younger person. An emotionally mixed up eight-year-old could kill his baby brother in a fit of jealousy without fully understanding his actions, and rehabilitation would be a viable option. HOWEVER, I don’t think juvenile records should be sealed, particularly in a case where there is an established pattern of violence or sociopathology.