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Are Juveniles Responsible for Their Crimes

Jeannie 10 / 214  
Jan 7, 2010   #1
In light of the egregious lack of justice in the Jordan Valdez case, are juveniles responsible for their crimes? Most say they should be reasonably accountable, and the Supreme Court has recently agreed, but circuit court Judge Chet Tharpe said otherwise. He believes that it is OK to kill a woman who is vulnerable, tired, and homeless. He believes, in fact, that it is OK to drive over a living human being - crushing his or her bones beneath your tires - as long as the one who did it shows appropriately remorseful behavior in the courtroom. Regardless of the fact that this teen acted with a willful disregard for humanity, it is OK. Lack of conscience is not at issue here, after all, is it? A lack of conscience can be taught by parents and peers alike, so you can not hold a youngster accountable for their willful action.

What if an adolescent who lived with extreme stress and abuse and neglect all their life decided one day that it was just too much? What if he or she tried to burn the house down with the mother inside? You can have pity on the youngster, like Judge Tharpe had pity on Jordan Valdez, or you can see them as "creatures," like Judge Tharpe saw the homeless woman as a creature, but what if I was God and gave him or her a different family and a different socioeconomic background and a different truth and a different standard and a well-connected lawyer? Should juveniles be held reasonably accountable for their crimes? Or should they be made to make speeches.

What are your thoughts? >>on the topic or the essay
PS. there is neither a prompt nor an agenda other than editorializing current events and practicing the fine art of rhetoric. If you want more info, google key words. I only want feedback on topic and essay writing...thanks!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 8, 2010   #2
...so you cannot hold a youngster...

The argument is weakened when you say the judge saw the woman as a creature. It is speculative, and speculation weakens arguments.

This might be stronger if you cite theory and philosophy about punishment as justice and punishment as a deterrent.

Punishing children is a tough subject to tackle! I don't know much about the case to which you refer, but I am confident that you are probably right in most regards... especially in the implication that if the woman had been wealthy the outcome may have been different. People may have cared more if she'd been wealthy.

But the good hearted people like you care more because she was poor. Would you have written about this case if she had been a millionaire.

Anyhow, I don't know about the case, so don't listen to me. I'm just trying to give some thoughtful ideas...

OP Jeannie 10 / 214  
Jan 9, 2010   #3
Kevin, your inciteful and thought-provoking critiques are always appreciated! I will have to right another paper about justice vs deterrent - that's a good one!

I agree that punishing children is difficult, but the disparities in sentencing between poor vs wealthy are so frigging blatant, and that's what yanks my chain.

Yes, I do get irritated at the prejudice that some poor people show toward the rich (poor/rich is being used to simplify...). I can't begrudge anyone for having more than me - they got it, I didn't, so what. They struggle in their own way. <<I just wish I could go for a boat ride 8)

Thanks again!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 15, 2010   #4
I just wish I could go for a boat ride 8

What's a boat ride 8?

:-) Well, I totally hear you about the injustice of it. And the worst part is the hegemony that is at work. The poor work harder for less, unable to get ahead.

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