Essay, Research Paper
Are juveniles as under control today as they were in the past? Crime plays a major role in today?s society. The government follows the policy and has always followed the policy that no crime goes unpunished. The controversy that surrounds the United States courtrooms today is whether or not a minor needs to stand trial as an adult for committing a serious offense. These decisions made by the judge or jury in the preliminary hearing affect the rest of the suspects life. The opposing argument to the issue of juveniles being tried as adults remains that the minor is too young and immature to understand the consequences of what he or she did wrong. Juveniles need to be punished according to the severity of the crime in which they committed. Ultimately, juveniles should stand trial as adults.
The opposition believes that holding court cases where juveniles remain tried as adults undoubtedly violates the rights of the juvenile. Initially, the age of a person when the alleged crime occurred decides whether or not he or she will be tried as a juvenile. ?Definitions of who is a juvenile vary for different purposes within individual states as well as among different states? (Rosenheim 36). Children, ages seven to seventeen, who are suspected of crime, must be treated as children in need of guidance and encouragement, and not as vicious criminals (Emerson 6). Also, the opposition feels that the juvenile cannot accept full responsibility for his or her actions. Some people insist that each minor who committed a crime was influenced in some way or another (Emerson 8). Not only does the opposition believe that the minor was influenced, but they also believe that the juvenile was not able to control his or herself (Emerson 8). In addition, juveniles have not yet reached the necessary maturity level to share a prison amongst other adults. Minors, isolated for punishment, do not deserve this radical treatment (Staff Report C13). Numerous lawsuits are filed annually to fight the improper incarceration of juveniles who were tried as adults (Staff Report C13). Most importantly, courts must not rely on prosecutors to prove that a child knew whether or not that the crime committed was right or wrong. ?The court is exhorted to treat children brought before it with the same kind of care, custody, and discipline that they would receive from good parents? (Emerson 6). Young offenders should be tried as minors because they do not know what is right from what is wrong (Fox 20).
Juvenile crime has mushroomed into an enormous dilemma for the legal system. The juvenile court system needs to devote more time to backing up what the judicial system stands for. ?The courts allow the majority of juveniles off of the hook for committing crimes instead of arraigning them as adults like they should? (Stapleton 117). Due to the overflow of cases in lower circuit courts, the courts cannot handle the cases with the diligence necessary (Snyder 3). Moreover, a boom in juvenile crime poses a threat to the way that the judicial system conducts itself. Crimes that need to transfer to adult criminal courts are instead dealt with in the misdemeanor court (Snyder 3). Howard Snyder, Director of the National Juvenile Court Data Archive, in his report, demands that the courts must not continue letting minors leave the courtroom with minimal sentences for dangerous crimes. Most importantly, juvenile crime forces the courts to neglect time from the adult criminal courts. Juvenile crime has done nothing but increase in the past, and because of the increase in crime by minors courts have been forced to place less emphasis on lower criminal cases (McPolin 26). Increasing crime amongst minors will be the primary cause for the ?downfall of the American judicial system? (Stapleton 119).
The statistics pertaining to the crimes that juveniles committed in the past proves that a statement must be made by trying more serious juvenile offenders as adults. First of all, minors believe, and the statistics show that the system lets the juveniles off easy because they have not yet reached adulthood. Teenagers feel that because they are young and innocent they can beat the system (Howard C2). Out of the many minors who go to court for serious offenses, ?over half leave the courtroom smiling? because the judge decided for them to be prosecuted as children which means the punishment is easy (Howard C2). Furthermore, minors who commit serious crimes easily slip through grasp of the judicial system. Of the 20,000 juvenile delinquency cases that went to court, only one fourth were tried as adults in a criminal court (Snyder 1). Also, of the 5,000 minors who stood trial for serious crimes such as murder or attempted murder, few were convicted; therefore, the judicial system needs to prosecute more juveniles as adults for more criminal offenses involving such felonies as breaking and entering or auto theft (Snyder 2). Lastly, statistics illustrate that minors need a wake-up call to begin curbing the crimes committed by minors. ?Youngsters need a serious disciplinary jolt before they can understand the bigger picture? responds James Austin, a member of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. A report rendered by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency shows that a recent poll indicates that two-thirds of the people believed that if more minors were tried as adults, then the message would get across to juveniles not to commit crimes (Austin 25).
There remains no justification for age to be a factor in deciding if a minor?s arraignment will be as an adult or as a juvenile. Initially, juveniles normally begin to follow a life of crime because of past experiences which must not be used as an excuse to not stand trial as an adult. Crime among minors most likely starts at home (Gehrke/Branch B6). Juvenile criminals commence their life in crime as early as nine years of age (Howard C2). Just because minors have not yet reached adulthood, there remains no reason for them to take crime for granted due to their age. Minors these days can almost ?get away with murder, literally? says Sanford Fox, author of The Law of Juvenile Courts in a Nutshell. The extent to which courts are letting juvenile offenders off is horrendous (Stapleton 67). Most importantly, minors who commit serious offenses do not deserve preferential treatment in any form. Attacking their arresting officers, some teenage juvenile delinquents show a great deal of disrespect and they do not deserve special treatment in the courtroom (McPolin A8). Margaret Rosenheim, author of Pursuing Justice for the Child, insists that ?there are many adults of all ages who are the moral and intellectual inferiors of most older juveniles, and even some of young children?, and if there are juvenile delinquents out there who are brighter than some adult criminals, then the courts must try the minors as adults.
Trying juveniles as adults places an interesting impact on society. First off, society voices itself frequently. The sole explanation that the majority of society comes up with for the boom in juvenile crime is that the society is infested with ?a future generation presently embroiled in failure and rage? (Gehrke/Branch B6). The majority of society refuses to accept criminals into their lives, so by standing more juveniles on trial as adults, the juveniles will learn a valuable lesson (Emerson 11). In addition, society takes advantage of those minors who allegedly commit certain crimes. Juveniles that have been tried as minors and released without penalty or even with a small penalty become prime bait for gangs because the system has failed to teach a lesson to the minor (McPolin A8). Lastly, society often comes into play inside the courtroom. Grand juries must decide whether or not there is enough evidence to indict anyone suspected of capital crimes (Gehrke/Branch B6). When the rare occurrence of a juvenile being tried as an adult takes place, grand juries ?often focus on one or more topics of community interest?, hence it is not uncommon for minors to escape conviction. (Gehrke/Branch).
More juveniles must stand trial as adults for the legal system to maintain its full effect. The opposition to prosecuting juveniles as adults believe that the juvenile is to young to cope with the possible consequences. Those who support trying minors as adults feel many reasons account for their beliefs. The amount of juvenile crime and the overwhelming statistics pertaining to crime involving youths remain a strong point why juveniles need to stand trial as adults. Also, a minors? age is no reason for the minor to be let off of the hook for a crime. Ultimately, if the judicial system remains in its present state, the United States must prepare for a long and tedious dispute.
Emerson, Robert. Judging Delinquents. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Co., 1969.
This book indicates to citizens the processes which courts must undergo in deciding the verdicts.
Examiner Staff Report. ?Ads Tell Horrors of Teens Imprisoned in Adult Jails.? May 23, 1991, C13.
This article describes to citizens and tells stories to citizens about teens in jails with adults. Also, the article offers interviews with inmates whom are teens.
Gehrke, Dohna and Branch, Karen. ?Youth Crime Called Threat to Society.? Miami Herald. May 16, 1991, B6.
This article talks about how people feel on the issue that youth crime is a threat to society. The citizen who reads this will obtain knowledge on various punishments that minors undergo.
Fox, Sanford. The Law of Juvenile Courts in a Nutshell. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1971.
This book describes to citizens the tricks of the trade which occur inside of the judicial system.
Howard, Lee. ?Young Criminals Find System Blind to Age.? Jackson Clarion-Ledger. April 21, 1991, C2.
This article allows the citizens to see what youths think and it gives the citizens a chance to venture into a juvenile?s mind.
Lewis, Merlin. An Intro to the Courts and Judicial Process. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, inc., 1978.
This article gives citizens an idea of how things are run in a court.
McPolin, Paul. ?Dangerous Arms Among Youths.? New York Advance. May 6, 1991, A7.
This article informs citizens that teens have guns. Being caught armed with a gun can determine sentencing.
Rosenheim, Margaret. Pursuing Justice for the Child. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1976.
This book discusses justice and it indicates to citizens that there is much to be accomplished with the legal system.
Snyder, Howard. Delinquency Cases in Juvenile Courts. Washington, D.C.: United States Government, 1994.
This book tells the citizens about the numerous differences in juvenile cases and it also offers statistics on the subject.
Stapleton, Vaughan. In Defense of Youth. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1972.
In this book, the author informs the citizens of the many ways that minors are let off easy.
Stadelton, Chris. ?Kids Find Advocates on all Sides of the Court.? Daily Mail. May 15, 1991, D4.
This article informs the citizens to see the trial from all angles. People feel there are two sides to convicting juveniles.
Juveniles Must Accept Responibility for their Actions
Juveniles Must Accept Responsibility for their Actions
Thesis: Ultimately, juveniles should stand trial as adults.
II. Violates the rights of the juvenile
1. (Rosenheim 36)
2. (Emerson 6)
1. (Emerson 8)
2. (Emerson 8)
1. (Staff Report C13)
2. (Staff Rreport C13)
D. Prosecutors try to prove innosence or guilt
1. (Emerson 6)
2. (Fox 20)
III. Juvenile Crime has increased
A. Back up what system stands for
1. (Stapleton 117)
2. (Snyder 3)
B. Threat to how judicial system is run
1. (Snyder 3)
2. (Snyder 3)
C. Neglect time from adult court
1. (McPolin A8)
2. (Stapleton 119)
IV. Statistics that prove statement needs to be made
A. Lets juveniles off easy
1. (Howard C2)
2. (Howard C2)
B. Minors slip through the system
1. (Snyder 1)
2. (Snyder 2)
C. Curb crimes committed
1. (Austin 25)
2. (Austin 25)
A. Past experiences
1. (Gehrke/Branch B6)
2. (Howard C2)
B. Take crime for granted
2. (Stapleton 67)
C. No preferential treatment
1. (McPolin A8)
2. (Rosenheim 47)
VI. Impact on society
A. Voices itself often
1. (Gehrke/Branch B6)
2. (Emerson 11)
B. Takes advantage of minors
1. (McPolin A8)
2. (Emerson 11)
C. Inside the courtroom
1. (Gehrke/Branch B6)
2. (Gehrke/Branch B6)