This is a message to any lawyers or people who have occupations connected to the topic of juveniles committing crimes. When the word “juveniles” comes up in a conversation, people tend to think that it means a troubled young person, but it just means a young person. The word is mostly used when children, teens, or young people commit crimes. However, when the crime they commit is so serious, they are no longer looked as “juveniles,” but instead as adults. In some states, whenever a juvenile commits a serious crime like murder, they get charged for the crimes as adults.They would end with a 5 to10 or maybe even a life years sentence in prison But is it okay for juveniles to be charged like adults for their crimes? I think juveniles have to be responsible for their actions, but courts should look more into their cases when sentencing them, since juvenile brains are still developing compared to adults. The thing is, though, their brains have already developed to the point where they are aware of what’s going on around them. So they shouldn’t be found not guilty for this reason.
Underdeveloped brains is not a good enough reason to justify juveniles committing serious crimes. This is such a weak argument when it comes to the topic. For teens, who are the juveniles mostly committing these crimes, their brains have developed enough to where they are fully aware of their actions. In the article, “Jennifer Bishop Jenkins on Punishment and Teens Killers” by Jennifer Jenkins, she talks about teens should suffer the consequences for what they have done. In the article it says, “Advocates often repeat, but truly misunderstand brain research on the issue. The actual science does not, according to experts such as Professor Stephen Morse, and others, in any way negate criminal culpability.” What she is saying that this argument has been scientifically proven false and not connected to the topic of juvenile crimes. Just because juveniles are young, that doesn’t mean that they are entirely innocent.
But I’m not saying that juveniles are entirely guilty either. As the old court saying goes, “The defendant is innocent until proven guilty.” In other words, courts need to look more into the case in order for the court to justify charging juveniles with an adult sentence. They should look at the background information of the suspect; other crimes the person committed before the case; and specifically this case itself. In the article, “Should 11-Years Olds Be Charged With Adult Crimes?” by Phillip Holloway, he talks about that juveniles should not be charged like adults. In the article, Holloway says the following:
For example, consider the case of little Amy Yates, age 8 at the time she died, strangled in Georgia in 2004. … At the time it was widely believed that her 12-year old neighbor Jonathan Adams was guilty of the crime. According to Georgia law at the time the maximum penalty Adams could face was two years in confinement due to his age. He entered a plea without admitting guilt but it is now widely believed he was in fact innocent.”
This is saying that the court already planned to charge Adams an adult sentence even though people believed the boy was not guilty. If the court looked more into the case or Adam’s background, they would have found that there was no reason for the court to charge the boy two years because of all the evidence that proved the boy was innocent. If the courts did this, cases could have a fair conclusion for both sides.
In conclusion, courts need more time to look into cases of juveniles committing crimes, but the juveniles themselves should still be responsible for their actions. Brain development is a weak argument to use in these cases. Courts looking more into the case could end with a better and fairer outcome. The public tends to have the wrong perspective on both sides of the case involving juveniles, but lawyers and other people who have a big involvement as well can help change that. Should the law stay the way it is or should it be changed? I leave that to you to decide.