Monday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

After the Violence, the Rest of Their Lives, The New York Times

Xavier McElrath-Bey, 36, was convicted of murder at 13. Now he gathers data for a Northwestern University study.

There is the house at 51st and Throop where, at 11, he huddled near some steps to avoid a rival gang member’s gunfire; the sidewalk where he carved his gang nickname into the newly laid cement; the lot at 51st and Ada where Sam’s store once stood, its back yard a convenient hideaway for weapons. Nearby is the abandoned building where, in 1989, he crossed the line from being a troubled 13-year-old, in and out of a detention center, to a 13-year-old convicted of murder.

Undermining Vital Child Protections, The Hill

As parents who paid the ultimate price for unsafe products, we saw the passage of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in 2008 as an important legislative victory. It revitalized our hopes that other parents would not see their children suffer as our son did when the top rails of the Playskool Travel-Lite crib he slept in at his licensed childcare home in Chicago collapsed around his neck, strangling him. In the last four years juvenile product manufacturers have tried hard to undo the safety protection law. They might just succeed if a new law under consideration in the Senate is allowed to pass.

New Law Gives Lancaster County Judges Discretion in Sentencing Juvenile Killers, LancasterOnline

A newly passed law could lead to lighter sentences for juvenile killers in Lancaster County and across the state, local experts say.
Gov. Tom Corbett recently signed Senate Bill 850, making life behind bars no longer a mandatory sentence for juveniles convicted of first- or second-degree murder.
In fact, a juvenile convicted of second-degree murder, under the law, cannot be sentenced to life without parole.

Lisa Steffek

About Lisa Steffek

Lisa Steffek is a third year student at the University of Houston Law Center. Lisa completed her Bachelors, Masters and Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Texas in Human Development and Family Sciences. As an undergraduate, Lisa worked as a research assistant studying child attachment. Lisa also worked for several years at The Settlement Home, a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed adolescent females. Most of the girls at The Settlement Home had been removed from their homes by Child Protective Services, and Lisa worked with the girls to teach them life-skills and provided psychological treatment to prepare them for adulthood and the transition to foster homes. Lisa also worked for six years in various academic capacities at the University of Texas, including an undergraduate teaching assistant, graduate research assistant, and undergraduate writing consultant. Lisa has presented papers regarding human development at various academic conferences in the states and abroad, and has had her writing published in an international, academic journal.

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