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This question seems to assume that life without parole is acceptable even for adults, and I would argue that in most cases that approach itself is unwarranted and unpreferable to alternatives. Particularly with youth, "rehabilitative" approaches that empower individuals and connect them with the resources and help that they need are demonstrated to be more successful than incarceration. The individual in question aside, a lifelong incarceration is also an incredible burden upon the taxpayer (particular if we give youth life sentences).
I do not think Adolescents should be sentence to life without parole. Yes, in almost all cases they are of age to understand what they are doing, they have no excuse, but at the same time, spending time in prison really can change you, I know this not from personal experience, but from certain people whom I know. I am not saying this is true for all cases, it varies. But I think they deserve a second chance. But like I just stated, not in all situations, it definitely depends on what exactly they did, and all those details.
While I respect your opinion, I believe that the crime should fit the mental capacity of the person. Hence, one cannot argue that the mental development of the child or adolescent is equivalent to that of an adult. We have to take into consideration the several factors that can affect teenagers and children as they develop including abuse, peer pressure, etc. The nature of the crime should be evaluated depending on the context in which it was committed and the underlying reasons.
If you are 12. And you decide to go massacre your classmates and you pull it off then I would try you like a big boy. If you steal from the store then I'll just smack your wrist and tell you no no no. If they do a severe adult like crime then you get sentenced like one. You are capable of thought and you know whats right from wrong at 12.
If a 12 year old is capable of being tried as an adult, as if the servility of a crime is a test of his maturity, then why is it that he can not test into being able to vote, have sex with older people, skip classes and start work, move out, join the military and so on?
We should be consistent in our laws, in our court proceedings and so on.
If there is a case against a 12 year old being legally incompetent in a large matter of things, then why isn't there a case when it comes to certain crimes?
Because as you age your brain changes. A child at 12 will think differently at 16 or 20. At 20 you should know alot of rights from wrongs. At 16 you understand alot as well but not as much as the 20 year old? Law is typically consistent with age and requires you to follow it. We have seen kids in college due to their level of intellect. Moving out is set by the state. I don't want to give a child who hasn't fully developed their skills with judgement a gun. Military wise a child isn't naturally going to be fit for the military yet. If your 12 and you want to sex by all means thats your secret especially with older women(if they can get one). Its not a test of maturity its just law. Realistically we would place a kid into some kind of "youth recovery" program. It's kinda like being 15 or 16 and you want to purchase Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The maturity rating is 17+. The 15 or 16 year like most will believe that this is stupid and they would feel mature enough to play a simple video game. I can absolutely see your argument though. I understand what your saying. I just think that age has it's limits in somethings and not in others.
However, the original premise of your argument was based on a 12 year old. Also, because the thinking patterns of someone changes as they become older does not mean they have become fully mentally developed given the fact that many teenagers are affected by psychological disorders such as depression that affects their mental judgement.
Still. Age limits certain things but somethings are shared at any age. I have no idea what you are arguing about but the 12 year old is an example. The person could be 16. If a depessed adult murders 20 men why shouldn't a depressed teen be charged differently for the same case.
I disputed your example because medical facts and science have shown that even at 12, a child can lack the mental capacity to comprehend the nature of their actions. A depressed adult is different from a depressed 16 or 12 year old because the depressed adult still understands the nature and processes of the criminal justice system and hence, should be treated differently.
Even though there might be 12 year olds that are known for developing faster than other children from that age group, science has shown that it is still not possible for a 12 year old to fully mentally at that age nor do they possess the mental capabilities as that of an adult. Being incredible does not have to mean that you are mentally complete with compared to adults.
But a child can understand law, emotion and nature. Children can do a little more than what science can prove. Science can't explain everything in the ER. What about adults that never gain that maturity because of trauma? According to you we dismiss them as well since they don't understand. What about those who fake insanity and immaturity? Oh yes they also get away with it too right? If law equally reigns over everyone then why cut them short? Why excuse certain individuals in an "equal" society?
The question is not whether they understand law but rather, do they understand law, emotion and nature in the same way that an adult would understand these? Trauma can be psychologically damaging so it depends to what degree and whether that would severely affect the ability of the person to comprehend the nature of their action. Isn't our constitution based on mental awareness to comprehend the nature of the crime itself and the criminal justice system? Even if a child understands the difference between right and wrong, do they understand it in complex ways that the law views it? I doubt not. Faking insanity and immaturity often takes place with adults, not children as previous case patterns have shown. Even if you can show that these children carefully planned to execute their crimes, how can you show that they were acting based on their perception of reality or a "made-up world" of delusions. Actually, we are not excusing anyone so I have no idea what you are referring to. They will still be answerable to the jurisdiction of the family court with a combined rehabilitative and punitive approach. And oh yes, being equal is about giving fair consideration to certain groups based on strong evidence. Faking immaturity and insanity are often detected via several law enforcement and forensic psychological testings designed to detect malingering which is significant among adults.
Thats not the question. Not at all. A child can. Also men interpret laws not the laws itself. If the constitution enforced itself it you would see a difference. And being equal.....is just being equal. If you get this then he gets this. If you cannot prove that the child could or couldn't have understood his environment they why bother testing this?
The constitution is a living document so it is always being interpreted and the difference is certainly apparent in society which is reflective of many significant caselaws including Miranda v. Arizona and Roe v. Wade. Being equal does not mean you give everyone the same punishment because then you violate the proportionality of punishment clause of the 8th amendment. Different situations call for different responses which is typical of a democratic society. Science has clearly proved that the child is not mentally developed so I would argue the issue of proving the mental competence of the child is already addressed and solved unless you can prove otherwise.