Persuasive paper

Topics: Crime, Law, Criminology Pages: 5 (1753 words) Published: October 26, 2014
As more minors are committing violent crimes, (Greenwald, 1983) the question arises, Should minors who commit violent crimes be tried as adults? Based on the following scenario one would agree that minors who commit violent crimes should be charged as adults. In the case of a Middlesex teenager and his girlfriend, his punishment was severe and ultimately cost him his life. His girlfriend’s punishment was not quite as severe (unknown,, n.d.). According to the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, if a minor knows right from wrong and it can be proven they should be charged (Greenwald, 1983). One could conclude from that journal that minors should endure the punishment that goes with the crime; however, there is a gray area and each scenario should be judged on a case-by-case basis. Should minors be held accountable for their actions? Based on the U.S Department of Justice, yes, they should be charged for their crime (Redding, 2010). With further research charging minors as adults could indicate more problems than good. In November 1990, a teenager and his girlfriend plotted together to kill her parents because they did not want them be together. He was seventeen years old at the time and the girlfriend was fourteen. He had the shotgun and both of her parents died by the shotgun. The girlfriend allowed him into the home, helped arrange drugs on the floor to make it seem like a robbery and when one shot did not kill her mother, she urged him to shoot again. He was charged as an adult and put to death by lethal injection while she was charged as a juvenile then released when she turned 21. Was this the correct course of action? A deeper look is necessary to determine what is taken into consideration when sentencing a minor as an adult and where the line should be drawn. According to the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, in today’s society juveniles are faced with two court systems. They can be charged as a juvenile or they can be charged as an adult (Greenwald, 1983). Over 31 states currently have laws that allow juveniles over the age of fourteen who have committed a violent crime to be charged as adults (Redding, 2010). According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a juvenile should be charged according to their crime. If they committed a juvenile crime than a juvenile sentence is appropriate. If they commit an adult crime then an adult punishment is appropriate (Redding, 2010). As per the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, when it comes to death sentences minors are challenging the decision and saying that capital punishment is unconstitutional. Minors would argue that it violates the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the eighth amendment. (Greenwald, 1983) This 0Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause restricts the severity of punishments that state and federal governments may impose upon persons who have been convicted of criminal offenses (Greenwald, 1983). In the United States during the late eighteenth century, English common law rules were applied when sentencing a child. Under these rules children seven and under were not capable of forming criminal intent and therefore not liable for their actions. With ages seven to fourteen, they were still considered unable to form criminal intent (Greenwald, 1983). However, if the child could distinguish right from wrong and understood that the act they committed was wrong, then they could be tried as an adult. Children 14 and older were fully capable of forming a criminal intent and therefore tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. (Greenwald, 1983) According to the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology there were reformers for children that believed society’s role was not to determine if a child was guilty or innocent but to determine why this individual committed a criminal act. The reformers believed that minors should be rehabilitated rather than punished. This is when juvenile correctional...
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