12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Belial » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:40 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:I don't see why it's one or the other. "Not committing murder" is a task that requires a lot less responsibility than driving or doing one's taxes or paying one's bills.


Would you say that deciding (or forfeiting) one's entire forseeable future requires more or less?
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby sourmìlk » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:48 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:I don't see why it's one or the other. "Not committing murder" is a task that requires a lot less responsibility than driving or doing one's taxes or paying one's bills.


Would you say that deciding (or forfeiting) one's entire forseeable future requires more or less?


That's not the question: the question is, does not forfeiting one's future require more or less responsibility than driving or doing one's taxes or paying one's bills. I think that refusing to forfeit one's life is a much easier task than even something reasonably simple like merging lanes onto a freeway.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Belial » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:57 pm UTC

sourmilk wrote:That's not the question


Pretty sure it is. You're saying that a person who isn't legally allowed to sign contracts because they can't legally be said to fully understand the ramifications of those contracts and live with them, is nevertheless qualified to undergo consequences much more binding, destructive, and far-reaching.

And I'm saying that is some cake-superposition bullshit.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby sourmìlk » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:22 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
sourmilk wrote:That's not the question


Pretty sure it is. You're saying that a person who isn't legally allowed to sign contracts because they can't legally be said to fully understand the ramifications of those contracts and live with them, is nevertheless qualified to undergo consequences much more binding, destructive, and far-reaching.


No, I'm saying that a person who isn't legally allowed to sign contracts because he can't legally be said to fully understand the ramifications of those contracts and live with them is qualified to refuse to undergo consequences much more binding, destructive, and far-reaching.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Radical_Initiator
Just Cool Enough for School
Posts: 1374
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:39 pm UTC

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Radical_Initiator » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:40 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Belial wrote:
sourmilk wrote:That's not the question


Pretty sure it is. You're saying that a person who isn't legally allowed to sign contracts because they can't legally be said to fully understand the ramifications of those contracts and live with them, is nevertheless qualified to undergo consequences much more binding, destructive, and far-reaching.


No, I'm saying that a person who isn't legally allowed to sign contracts because he can't legally be said to fully understand the ramifications of those contracts and live with them is qualified to refuse to undergo consequences much more binding, destructive, and far-reaching.


Wait, what?
I looked out across the river today …

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Belial » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:44 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:No, I'm saying that a person who isn't legally allowed to sign contracts because he can't legally be said to fully understand the ramifications of those contracts and live with them is qualified to refuse to undergo consequences much more binding, destructive, and far-reaching.
You can't have only half the equation. If they're qualified to refuse, they're also qualified to accept.

In fact, just stating that is possibly the most trivially stupid point I've ever heard. Yes, thank you sourmilk, but I think they already got the memo: did you know that adolescents, on average, spend at least 23 hours a day not killing people? And you're saying you think they're qualified to keep doing that? Genius.

What we're talking about is the decision to do so.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby sourmìlk » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:53 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:No, I'm saying that a person who isn't legally allowed to sign contracts because he can't legally be said to fully understand the ramifications of those contracts and live with them is qualified to refuse to undergo consequences much more binding, destructive, and far-reaching.
You can't have only half the equation. If they're qualified to refuse, they're also qualified to accept.

Exactly. They are qualified to refuse (I don't think we disagree on that point), therefore they are qualified to accept. Basically, if we expect that somebody fully has the capacity not to kill somebody given opportunity and encouragement, then we can try them as an adult.

In fact, just stating that is possibly the most trivially stupid point I've ever heard. Yes, thank you sourmilk, but I think they already got the memo: did you know that adolescents, on average, spend at least 23 hours a day not killing people? And you're saying you think they're qualified to keep doing that? Genius.

And yet you appeared to be suggesting that not killing somebody is as complex a decision as signing a contract.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

User avatar
LaserGuy
Posts: 4585
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:57 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
In fact, just stating that is possibly the most trivially stupid point I've ever heard. Yes, thank you sourmilk, but I think they already got the memo: did you know that adolescents, on average, spend at least 23 hours a day not killing people? And you're saying you think they're qualified to keep doing that? Genius.

And yet you appeared to be suggesting that not killing somebody is as complex a decision as signing a contract.


Killing somebody is a decision that has far greater long-term irreversible consequences than signing a contract. Someone who isn't qualified to understand how a document could affect their lives probably isn't going to appreciate how something more serious will affect their lives.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Belial » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:05 pm UTC

And yet you appeared to be suggesting that not killing somebody is as complex a decision as signing a contract.


No, I'm saying it's as complex as not signing a contract.

How many contracts did you not sign today?
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
Decker
Posts: 2071
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 4:22 pm UTC
Location: Western N.Y.

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Decker » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:05 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Belial wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:No, I'm saying that a person who isn't legally allowed to sign contracts because he can't legally be said to fully understand the ramifications of those contracts and live with them is qualified to refuse to undergo consequences much more binding, destructive, and far-reaching.
You can't have only half the equation. If they're qualified to refuse, they're also qualified to accept.

Exactly. They are qualified to refuse (I don't think we disagree on that point), therefore they are qualified to accept. Basically, if we expect that somebody fully has the capacity not to kill somebody given opportunity and encouragement, then we can try them as an adult.

Sourmilk, you are everything I hate about arguing with someone on the internet.
You are deliberately misconstruing his statement. You know that's not what he meant. I swear you do this because you get off on it.

By your logic, a four year old with a loaded gun should be tried as an adult.
I was angry with my friend. I told my wrath. My wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe. I told it not. My wrath did grow.

Heisenberg
Posts: 3789
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 8:48 pm UTC
Location: Uncertain

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:07 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:(I don't think we disagree on that point),
That's a bit premature. Is your argument going to be the fact that we expect 12 year-olds to not engage in sexual acts with adults is evidence that any 12 year-old who does is fully responsible? You kind of jumped from "IF A THEN B directly to EVERYONE AGREES THAT B."
sourmìlk wrote:And yet you appeared to be suggesting that not killing somebody is as complex a decision as signing a contract.
I think you're confusing complexity with understanding the consequences. Understanding the consequences of a contract is not comparable to understanding the consequences of a murder. The failure of the death penalty to provide a measurable deterrant shows us that fully mature adults fail to comprehend the consequences of a murder, so expecting consequences to influence the behavior of a mentally deranged 12 year-old is outrageous.

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby sourmìlk » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:14 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
In fact, just stating that is possibly the most trivially stupid point I've ever heard. Yes, thank you sourmilk, but I think they already got the memo: did you know that adolescents, on average, spend at least 23 hours a day not killing people? And you're saying you think they're qualified to keep doing that? Genius.

And yet you appeared to be suggesting that not killing somebody is as complex a decision as signing a contract.


Killing somebody is a decision that has far greater long-term irreversible consequences than signing a contract. Someone who isn't qualified to understand how a document could affect their lives probably isn't going to appreciate how something more serious will affect their lives.


Okay, but that's not the question. The question isn't whether or not a minor will grasp the scope of their punishment, I think that's rather beside the point. The question is whether or not a minor will understand how not to kill somebody.

Belial wrote:No, I'm saying it's as complex as not signing a contract.

How many contracts did you not sign today?

You think that not killing somebody is as complex as not signing a contract? I'd have to disagree: people sign contracts and enter into agreements all the time without thinking about it. Millions of minors click "accept" to a Terms of Use contract or a EULA every day, and I sincerely doubt there are as many murders committed by minors as there are EULA's accepted by minors. People, particularly minors, will sign contracts under the principle of "hey, why not?", but they usually don't kill people for that reason.

Decker wrote:By your logic, a four year old with a loaded gun should be tried as an adult.

I already explained why this isn't the case: while a four year old probably understands that murder is morally wrong, very young children in particular have such poor impulse control that they can't necessarily be expected to adhere to their moral sense if they don't want to. Also, don't insult me.

Heisenberg wrote:That's a bit premature. Is your argument going to be the fact that we expect 12 year-olds to not engage in sexual acts with adults is evidence that any 12 year-old who does is fully responsible? You kind of jumped from "IF A THEN B directly to EVERYONE AGREES THAT B."

I don't necessarily think that my argument applies to 12-year-olds: I'd have to observe some to see whether or not they possess the mental capacity to fit into my idea of who should be tried as an adult. But, from what I hear, deciding not to have sex with an adult is a more difficult decision than deciding not to murder one.

Heisenberg wrote: think you're confusing complexity with understanding the consequences. Understanding the consequences of a contract is not comparable to understanding the consequences of a murder. The failure of the death penalty to provide a measurable deterrant shows us that fully mature adults fail to comprehend the consequences of a murder, so expecting consequences to influence the behavior of a mentally deranged 12 year-old is outrageous.

So if the problem is that 12 year olds don't understand the scope of the punishment associated with their actions, then the logical conclusion would not be to go easier on them, but to make the punishment more harsh so it acts as a stronger deterrent, and so that the consequences are more apparently heavy to a 12-year-old.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Belial » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:17 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Okay, but that's not the question


According to whom?

sourmìlk wrote:So if the problem is that 12 year olds don't understand the scope of the punishment associated with their actions, then the logical conclusion would not be to go easier on them, but to make the punishment more harsh so it acts as a stronger deterrent, and so that the consequences are more apparently heavy to a 12-year-old.


Is this where sourmilk rolls out his new "torture is okay, but only for kids" justice system?

Seriously, you've departed so far from any kind of sense here.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

Radical_Initiator
Just Cool Enough for School
Posts: 1374
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:39 pm UTC

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Radical_Initiator » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:18 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:So if the problem is that 12 year olds don't understand the scope of the punishment associated with their actions, then the logical conclusion would not be to go easier on them, but to make the punishment more harsh so it acts as a stronger deterrent, and so that the consequences are more apparently heavy to a 12-year-old.


Consequences of murder != punishment for murder. (not completely, at least)
I looked out across the river today …

User avatar
KestrelLowing
Posts: 1124
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:57 pm UTC
Location: Michigan

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby KestrelLowing » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:21 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:So if the problem is that 12 year olds don't understand the scope of the punishment associated with their actions, then the logical conclusion would not be to go easier on them, but to make the punishment more harsh so it acts as a stronger deterrent, and so that the consequences are more apparently heavy to a 12-year-old.


Sourmilk, you really need to think sometimes. Actually, with that particular quote, I can't tell if you're trolling or just stupid. Murdering someone is a freaking huge deal! If 12 year olds don't understand that can cause life imprisonment, I have no clue what they would understand. The whole problem is that children often don't see the cause leading to the effect, especially when feeling strong emotions. Making the effect worse will not magically fix the broken link between "break the law" ----- ------> "get punished". That arrow still will be broken, no matter what the punishment is.

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby sourmìlk » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:28 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:Okay, but that's not the question


According to whom?

Sensibility and justice. An ability of a person to grasp the weight of his punishment is an arbitrary factor when deciding how to convict that person. The proper factor should be "could that person be reasonably expected not to commit that crime under any circumstances other than duress." Perhaps grasping the consequences is a part of that, as that would act as a deterrent and thus make a person less likely to commit murder, but there are many other reasons why people don't kill each other, and those should be taken into account when judging somebody.

sourmìlk wrote:So if the problem is that 12 year olds don't understand the scope of the punishment associated with their actions, then the logical conclusion would not be to go easier on them, but to make the punishment more harsh so it acts as a stronger deterrent, and so that the consequences are more apparently heavy to a 12-year-old.


Is this where sourmilk rolls out his new "torture is okay, but only for kids" justice system?

Seriously, you've departed so far from any kind of sense here.

I don't actually think the punishment should be harsher for young minors. It's a proof by contradiction: given the argument that all that matters is how one grasps the consequences of his actions, the only sensible thing to do would be to increase the consequences. But seeing as that seems stupid, there are clearly other factors by which we determine the punishment somebody should get.Or at least we think there are other factors (hence "seems" stupid and not necessarily "is" stupid.)

Radical_Initiator wrote:Consequences of murder != punishment for murder. (not completely, at least)

So? The justice system's goal is, in part, to add artificial consequences to act as a deterrent. If the only reason somebody would commit a crime is inability to grasp the consequences of his actions, then you'd just push the consequences as far as they'd go until people grasp them.

KestrelLowing wrote: That arrow still will be broken, no matter what the punishment is.

Exactly. Perhaps I wasn't clear or perhaps you all just have extremely low expectations of me, but that quote was intended to be a proof by contradiction.

And sorry for the quote-sniping look, but I'm responding to multiple people at once and thus completely different arguments.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

User avatar
natraj
Posts: 1895
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:13 pm UTC
Location: away from Omelas

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby natraj » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:30 pm UTC

Also, the entirety of the problem isn't that they don't understand that they will be punished, but that children don't necessarily have the same framework as adults do to even comprehend what a weighty thing it even IS to take a life in the first place, having oftentimes not had any experience with death anyway. (Or having not had much life experience at all, so extrapolate that to the rest of life as well.) So it isn't even just "they don't get that they'll be punished" so much as "they don't have the same framework to even form decisions in the first place."
You want to know the future, love? Then wait:
I'll answer your impatient questions. Still --
They'll call it chance, or luck, or call it Fate,
The cards and stars that tumble as they will.

pronouns: they or he

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby sourmìlk » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:31 pm UTC

natraj wrote:Also, the entirety of the problem isn't that they don't understand that they will be punished, but that children don't necessarily have the same framework as adults do to even comprehend what a weighty thing it even IS to take a life in the first place, having oftentimes not had any experience with death anyway. (Or having not had much life experience at all, so extrapolate that to the rest of life as well.) So it isn't even just "they don't get that they'll be punished" so much as "they don't have the same framework to even form decisions in the first place."

I'd have to disagree with the idea that most children are unable to make the decision not to murder people. They make that decision all the time, despite having the chance and, at points, the motivation.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

User avatar
natraj
Posts: 1895
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:13 pm UTC
Location: away from Omelas

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby natraj » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:33 pm UTC

Reading comprehension fail. I didn't say they can't make decisions, I said they aren't making decisions within the same framework. Children don't have the weight of life experience behind the decisions they are making.
You want to know the future, love? Then wait:
I'll answer your impatient questions. Still --
They'll call it chance, or luck, or call it Fate,
The cards and stars that tumble as they will.

pronouns: they or he

Radical_Initiator
Just Cool Enough for School
Posts: 1374
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:39 pm UTC

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Radical_Initiator » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:35 pm UTC

natraj wrote:Also, the entirety of the problem isn't that they don't understand that they will be punished, but that children don't necessarily have the same framework as adults do to even comprehend what a weighty thing it even IS to take a life in the first place, having oftentimes not had any experience with death anyway. (Or having not had much life experience at all, so extrapolate that to the rest of life as well.) So it isn't even just "they don't get that they'll be punished" so much as "they don't have the same framework to even form decisions in the first place."


I think (correct me if I'm wrong, natraj) this is more in line with what I was thinking. Does a child really understand the permanence of murder? Or does an abused child, already subject to constant violence and unable to stop it, simply lash out in anger with what behavior they know? Do they understand the gravity of the action? If you can't be certain they understand the fullness of what they've done, how can you say they're entirely guilty of murder?
I looked out across the river today …

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby sourmìlk » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:37 pm UTC

natraj wrote:Reading comprehension fail. I didn't say they can't make decisions, I said they aren't making decisions within the same framework. Children don't have the weight of life experience behind the decisions they are making.

My point was that they apparently (after a certain age) have the necessary life experience to know that they shouldn't commit murder, and the necessary impulse control not to even if they want to.

Radical_Initiator wrote: Or does an abused child, already subject to constant violence and unable to stop it, simply lash out in anger with what behavior they know?

To be clear, I agree that mental illness as a result of abuse should be a mitigating factor.

Radical_Initiator wrote:If you can't be certain they understand the fullness of what they've done, how can you say they're entirely guilty of murder?

Because a minor of a certain age has a sufficient grasp of the fullness of their actions that, combined with their moral sense and impulse control, should be expected under any circumstance other than duress not to commit murder.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Belial » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:40 pm UTC

sourmilk wrote:The proper factor should be "could that person be reasonably expected not to commit that crime under any circumstances other than duress."


According to whom?
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
KestrelLowing
Posts: 1124
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:57 pm UTC
Location: Michigan

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby KestrelLowing » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:44 pm UTC

Wow, ninja'd a few times

Yeah, sorry, sarcasm/ridiculousness/tone doesn't come through very well on the interwebs. Sorry bout that. And sorry I keep expecting the worst from you. I'll try to stop.

sourmìlk wrote:I'd have to disagree with the idea that most children are unable to make the decision not to murder people. They make that decision all the time, despite having the chance and, at points, the motivation.


However, I still think you're wrong :wink:

Have you ever read Of Mice and Men? If you haven't, there's this mentally challenged guy who overall is very sweet but really doesn't know how strong he is or the consequences of his actions.
Spoiler:
He accidentally kills small animals (mice and maybe a puppy?) while petting them because he doesn't realize that he's hurting them. He eventually accidentally kills a woman. He doesn't mean to, but he panics, and that panic translates into movements that eventually snap her neck
While the majority of children aren't actually mentally challenged, they are compared to adults. They may not understand what they're even doing. They may not understand the consequences.

You seem to think that the majority of people are just out to murder people all the time. I really don't think that's the case. Children, in particular, get very frustrated when they can't adequately express their emotions. Sometimes feelings of anger manifest themselves as physical violence. They didn't really mean to hurt anyone, they just wanted their anger to be recognized. As we get older we usually get better at expressing strong emotions and get better at directing it towards something that won't hurt others (at least physically). Children just haven't learned that control yet and that is why it's important they be tried as a minor with that in mind.

As to when that control comes? Arguably it could be until our brains are finished growing. However, that's actually older than 18 so most people would use 18 as the cutoff.

Obviously I'm not a psychologist, but I remember feeling like this and I've seen it in others as well.

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby sourmìlk » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:49 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
sourmilk wrote:The proper factor should be "could that person be reasonably expected not to commit that crime under any circumstances other than duress."


According to whom?


Justice and logic: it would be unfair to punish somebody who effectively had no choice in the matter due to lack of moral sense or lack of impulse control because of young age or mental illness, but somebody who has a choice and deliberately makes the wrong one should be liable for the consequences of his actions: the consequences are then his own fault.

KestrelLowing wrote:Have you ever read Of Mice and Men? If you haven't, there's this mentally challenged guy who overall is very sweet but really doesn't know how strong he is or the consequences of his actions.

I'm not sure the needed to be in spoiler tags. It's like saying that
Spoiler:
Darth Vader is luke's father
or
Spoiler:
Jesus dies at the end.
.

KestrelLowing wrote: As we get older we usually get better at expressing strong emotions and get better at directing it towards something that won't hurt others (at least physically). Children just haven't learned that control yet and that is why it's important they be tried as a minor with that in mind.

Yes, this is why young age does matter. But after a certain point before adulthood, while that control isn't completely developed, it is sufficiently developed that we can be expected not to murder people in anger.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26818
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:51 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
sourmilk wrote:The proper factor should be "could that person be reasonably expected not to commit that crime under any circumstances other than duress."
According to whom?
According to Sourmilk, Sole Arbiter of All, duh.

And yes, we know that we can expect children not to murder. That's not the issue. The issue is how to punish them when they go ahead and do it anyway. We can expect children not to hit their siblings, too, but at the same time we typically don't press assault charges when they do.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Angua
Don't call her Delphine.
Posts: 5940
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:42 pm UTC
Location: UK/[St. Kitts and] Nevis Occasionally, I migrate to the US for a bit

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Angua » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:59 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Yes, this is why young age does matter. But after a certain point before adulthood, while that control isn't completely developed, it is sufficiently developed that we can be expected not to murder people in anger.
Hitting someone multiple times becuase you're angry can kill someone, but just because you did it doesn't mean that you meant to murder them. We don't even know if he meant to kill his brother, or was just lashing out. We don't know if he even realised that his brother was dead when he stopped attacking him, or whether or not he was shocked when he realised that he had killed him. Yes, a 12 year old should probably know that 'murder is wrong', but he might not necessarily realise how fragile a small person can be, especially when that 12 year old has been subject to abuse all his life, and thinks he's just doing the same thing to his brother (eg hitting him to hurt him and not realising that he was going overboard).

He needs to be taught that this is not good behaviour, and how to deal with his emotions properly. The 6 years before he's an adult (aka 18) could be very helpful if he's given the right guidance - locking him away in a jail for 25 years is never going to help him at all.
Crabtree's bludgeon: “no set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated”
GNU Terry Pratchett

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Belial » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:02 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Justice and logic


So a word that is meaningless, and a word that is just meaningless in this context.

Awesome

it would be unfair to punish somebody who effectively had no choice in the matter due to lack of moral sense or lack of impulse control because of young age or mental illness, but somebody who has a choice and deliberately makes the wrong one should be liable for the consequences of his actions: the consequences are then his own fault.


And if half the system is incapable of recognizing gradations in those abilities, why should the other half be able to?

That is, if the system is incapable of recognizing improved capacity for judgment and responsibility by rewarding the "child" with greater privileges, why should it be allowed to punish them for those same developments when they transgress, exactly?

But after a certain point before adulthood, while that control isn't completely developed, it is sufficiently developed that we can be expected not to murder people in anger.


As Gmal points out, this hasn't stopped being meaningless. Of course we can expect them not to kill people, otherwise we'd have to keep them chained to the radiator for fear of tween killing sprees. The question is whether it makes sense to hold them fully responsible when they do.

The presence of a juvenile justice system says that, even in the head of whatever idiotic mind dreamed up the "throw them in a box with other bad folks, that'll make them better" adult punishment system, the answer was "no".
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

Heisenberg
Posts: 3789
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 8:48 pm UTC
Location: Uncertain

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:24 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:The justice system's goal is, in part, to add artificial consequences to act as a deterrent.

No, it's really not. At least, when I studied Criminal Justice the two major competing theories were for Punishment and Rehabilitation. Deterring crime should not be the justice system's goal. Such a system would, frankly, be unjust.

Soralin
Posts: 1347
Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 12:06 am UTC

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Soralin » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:24 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:The justice system's goal is, in part, to add artificial consequences to act as a deterrent.

No, it's really not. At least, when I studied Criminal Justice the two major competing theories were for Punishment and Rehabilitation. Deterring crime should not be the justice system's goal. Such a system would, frankly, be unjust.

What exactly is the point of punishment if not to deter that person from that action? (either ahead of time, or after the fact)

Radical_Initiator
Just Cool Enough for School
Posts: 1374
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:39 pm UTC

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Radical_Initiator » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:28 pm UTC

Soralin wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:The justice system's goal is, in part, to add artificial consequences to act as a deterrent.

No, it's really not. At least, when I studied Criminal Justice the two major competing theories were for Punishment and Rehabilitation. Deterring crime should not be the justice system's goal. Such a system would, frankly, be unjust.

What exactly is the point of punishment if not to deter that person from that action? (either ahead of time, or after the fact)


Revenge is one. It should neither be the basis of a system of justice, nor should it be a reason that we give in to, but I think it is possibly the biggest other reason. For example, capital punishment. Once enough studies have shown that it is a piss poor deterrent for anything, the only point of keeping it around is vengeance against murderers, rapists, etc., to (if we cannot torture them for their crimes) at least see them suffer a similar fate as their victims.

Fair?
I looked out across the river today …

User avatar
mmmcannibalism
Posts: 2150
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:16 am UTC

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby mmmcannibalism » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:30 pm UTC

Radical_Initiator wrote:
Soralin wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:The justice system's goal is, in part, to add artificial consequences to act as a deterrent.

No, it's really not. At least, when I studied Criminal Justice the two major competing theories were for Punishment and Rehabilitation. Deterring crime should not be the justice system's goal. Such a system would, frankly, be unjust.

What exactly is the point of punishment if not to deter that person from that action? (either ahead of time, or after the fact)


Revenge is one. It should neither be the basis of a system of justice, nor should it be a reason that we give in to, but I think it is possibly the biggest other reason. For example, capital punishment. Once enough studies have shown that it is a piss poor deterrent for anything, the only point of keeping it around is vengeance against murderers, rapists, etc., to (if we cannot torture them for their crimes) at least see them suffer a similar fate as their victims.

Fair?


Your forgetting as a bargaining tool* to get someone to plea down to life without parole.

*though I get this weird feeling I've seen something about how being able to do that is useless for some counter intuitive reason.
Izawwlgood wrote:I for one would happily live on an island as a fuzzy seal-human.

Oregonaut wrote:Damn fetuses and their terroist plots.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Belial » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:57 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:Your forgetting as a bargaining tool* to get someone to plea down to life without parole.

*though I get this weird feeling I've seen something about how being able to do that is useless for some counter intuitive reason.


Well, for one, it causes a lot of people to plead guilty when they're actually innocent. Like, saying "if you don't win this trial, we're going to stone cold kill you to death, but if you just say you're guilty we'll let you live" is a good way to get innocent people to say they're guilty.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

User avatar
dedalus
Posts: 1169
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:16 pm UTC
Location: Dark Side of the Moon.

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby dedalus » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:11 am UTC

State sanctioned blackmail. Woooo!
doogly wrote:Oh yea, obviously they wouldn't know Griffiths from Sakurai if I were throwing them at them.

Princess Marzipan
Posts: 7717
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 5:28 am UTC
Location: neither a road, nor an island

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Princess Marzipan » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:06 am UTC

Going back a little ways...
natraj wrote:Also, the entirety of the problem isn't that they don't understand that they will be punished, but that children don't necessarily have the same framework as adults do to even comprehend what a weighty thing it even IS to take a life in the first place, having oftentimes not had any experience with death anyway. (Or having not had much life experience at all, so extrapolate that to the rest of life as well.) So it isn't even just "they don't get that they'll be punished" so much as "they don't have the same framework to even form decisions in the first place."
This got me thinking a bit. Potentially off topic.

Spoiler:
I picked up a fantasy series called Wheel of Time in junior high. It was about halfway complete then and has been dripping novels out for more than a decade since, with enough time between them that I reread the series just so it's all fresh in my mind for a new book. I've read the first eight books of the series maybe half a dozen times across the years. And man, they seem so much more complicated now! And not plotwise. Complicated because I could read one of the novels in junior high and just be frustrated with various protagonists for not taking the easy and obvious solutions to their problems.

"Shit I have these powers that are mysterious and/or tainted and no one will think of me the same if I tell them!" In junior high, the obvious solution was: fuck, just sit your friends and companions down and let them know! It's clearly perfectly fine, jeez! Now I read the novels with a bit more life under my belt and oh, yeah, things really COULD get super fucking messy for some of the characters if they were open about their abilities.

"Oh hey we have a prisoner. They're a terrible person and if they manage to escape things will be ruined forever!" In junior high, the obvious solution was KILL THEM because it fixes the problem. Now, though, I can recognize the power and importance of the constraints faced by the protagonists as well as moral issues from using murder as a solution because it's more convenient.

Pretty sure I just rambled for a while, but I think it's perhaps tangentially relevant.
"It's Saturday night. I've got no date, a two-liter of Shasta, and my all-Rush mixtape. Let's rock!"
"I am just about to be brilliant!"
General_Norris, on feminism, wrote:If you lose your six Pokémon, you lost.

User avatar
LaserGuy
Posts: 4585
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:56 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
natraj wrote:Reading comprehension fail. I didn't say they can't make decisions, I said they aren't making decisions within the same framework. Children don't have the weight of life experience behind the decisions they are making.


My point was that they apparently (after a certain age) have the necessary life experience to know that they shouldn't commit murder, and the necessary impulse control not to even if they want to.


Okay, let's run with this. At what age should we say that they have the experience and impulse control not to commit a crime? We basically have two options.

We can pick an age where we think it is likely that most of them will get it. It is important that we over-estimate the age here, because different people develop at different rates. If we set it too low, we may end unfairly treating people who aren't yet at this level of maturity. So it's probably best to err on the side of caution. I'd probably say early twenties would be a safe benchmark to be sure that you get them all, but you might be able to inch down a little lower, maybe to eighteen or something.

The second option is that you have some sort of test. You sit the kid down with a psychologist or something and they talk to the minor and figure out what they know about the world, and what they think. And this expert then decides whether or not this person should qualify as an adult based on their assessment of them.

What you don't want is a system where it works like this: some minor commits a crime, and people say "Oh me yarm this is such a terrible thing, this person MUST be charged as an adult", when it hasn't actually been demonstrated that they do have the necessary life experience and impulse control to fully appreciate what they've done. In this system, you will, invariably, screw someone over who doesn't meet these criteria.

KittenKaboodle
Posts: 162
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:36 am UTC

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby KittenKaboodle » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:07 am UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:Have you ever read Of Mice and Men? If you haven't, there's this mentally challenged guy who overall is very sweet but really doesn't know how strong he is or the consequences of his actions.

Didn't know the consequences, yet there were consequences weren't there?

If you are actually suggesting euthanasia you are going to get flamed worse than sourmilk. But in your defense, the two year old who was beaten to death is still dead and will remain dead for the foreseeable future. Locking the kid up forever hardly sounds reasonable considering that an adult would have to kill several people (or a cop) to get life without parole, Locking him up for 20 years or so would result in a 30 something year old I wouldn’t want to be on the same continent as, much less meet in a dark alley, so you may have the best solution.

Inb4 “two wrongs don’t make a right” while rehabilitation sounds nice, the results are not guaranteed, remember we are not talking about shoplifting a candy bar or a playground fight, one infant/toddler is dead. If he does reoffend would be two wrongs that don’t equal a right and then the state will still have to do something about him.

User avatar
Vash
Posts: 488
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:14 pm UTC
Location: The planet Gunsmoke

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Vash » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:59 am UTC

KittenKaboodle wrote:Didn't know the consequences, yet ... about him.


Euthanasia would be an acceptable option. The system won't treat this kid anyway, and he'll most likely end up in prison for the rest of his life.

User avatar
KestrelLowing
Posts: 1124
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:57 pm UTC
Location: Michigan

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby KestrelLowing » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:15 pm UTC

KittenKaboodle wrote:
KestrelLowing wrote:Have you ever read Of Mice and Men? If you haven't, there's this mentally challenged guy who overall is very sweet but really doesn't know how strong he is or the consequences of his actions.

Didn't know the consequences, yet there were consequences weren't there?

If you are actually suggesting euthanasia you are going to get flamed worse than sourmilk. But in your defense, the two year old who was beaten to death is still dead and will remain dead for the foreseeable future. Locking the kid up forever hardly sounds reasonable considering that an adult would have to kill several people (or a cop) to get life without parole, Locking him up for 20 years or so would result in a 30 something year old I wouldn’t want to be on the same continent as, much less meet in a dark alley, so you may have the best solution.

Inb4 “two wrongs don’t make a right” while rehabilitation sounds nice, the results are not guaranteed, remember we are not talking about shoplifting a candy bar or a playground fight, one infant/toddler is dead. If he does reoffend would be two wrongs that don’t equal a right and then the state will still have to do something about him.


Ummm, no. Either I wasn't clear or you just read my post really wrongly. In no way, shape or form was I suggestion euthanasia! I wanted to point out that because children cannot fully understand the consequences of their actions, they should be tried as minors, regardless of the severity of the crime. Typically, they attempt to rehabilitate minors, which sadly they don't do so much of in standard prison.

KittenKaboodle
Posts: 162
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:36 am UTC

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby KittenKaboodle » Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:56 am UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:
KittenKaboodle wrote:
KestrelLowing wrote:Ummm, no. Either I wasn't clear or you just read my post really wrongly. In no way, shape or form was I suggestion euthanasia! I wanted to point out that because children cannot fully understand the consequences of their actions, they should be tried as minors, regardless of the severity of the crime. Typically, they attempt to rehabilitate minors, which sadly they don't do so much of in standard prison.


I did notice that your mention of, "Of Mice And Men" seemed incongruous, but I assumed you had a reason for mentioning it.
Lennie was not tried as a minor (and I'm not sure he was a minor cronologicaly). While George tried to protect Lennie as best he could, after Lennie killed a human he saw no hope for a good resolution, no attempt was made to rehabilite Lennie at that point. Now if Curley had been an enlightened forgiving liberal, the story might have been different, but you referenced the version where Lennie got a bullet in the back of the head, so I don't know what your point was.

Heisenberg
Posts: 3789
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 8:48 pm UTC
Location: Uncertain

Re: 12-year old boy charged with first degree murder

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:40 pm UTC

Vash wrote:Euthanasia would be an acceptable option. The system won't treat this kid anyway, and he'll most likely end up in prison for the rest of his life.

Or a mental hospital. See, when you say the system can't help the kid, going to great expense to kill the kid does not follow. Why not go to great expense to reform the system?


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Zamfir and 18 guests