How juveniles should be tried as adults.

Essay by LivnliketweederHigh School, 12th gradeA, May 2003

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President Bush stated "When America teaches her children right from wrong and teaches values that respect life in our country, our country will be better off". This quote was released after a 15-year-old boy shot and killed two classmates and injured 13 at a Californian high school. He will be charged as an adult under state law.

I believe that in cases of felonies such as murder committed by juveniles over the age of reason, as defined in their state, those accused should be tried as adults. The age of reason is defined as the ability to know the difference between right and wrong. Many states overlook the age of reason and approve Proposition 21. Proposition 21 mandates that juveniles under 18 be tried as adults for serious crimes and serve longer sentences as befits those crimes. Even though Proposition 21 was created to reduce gang related violence, the court system does not resist using it against non gang related cases.

Some may come to the conclusion that young kids do not realize the finality of death when committing murder. These people would argue that since the juvenile does not directly know a person that he doesn't understand that this person is a human being with family and friends and not just a victim. I oppose this argument because the juvenile understands that he is taking a life and taking a life is not only wrong but inhumane. Not severely punishing this young adult could lead to more criminal activity and convictions due to the belief that punishment will be less severe because he/she is a juvenile. If the state does not punish the juvenile as an adult during the first severe crime, I strongly believe the court system should consider adult punishment after he/she makes a "wrong" decision...