Wednesday’s Children & the Law News Roundup

Raising the Age:  One Step Towards Fixing the Juvenile Criminal System, The Bronx Ink

New York and North Carolina are the only two states that set criminal responsibility at the age of 16.  While the law is at the discretion of the court judge, minors arrested after their 16th birthday and sentenced to more than a year are often tried as adults and incarcerated in adult correctional facilities.

Law Matters: If Your Child Is Arrested at School, Westport News

In Juvenile court, there is no finding of “guilty,” rather there is an adjudication of “delinquency” either by admission or by judicial determination. Either the minor admits to the offense and is adjudicated delinquent, or the judge makes a finding of delinquency after trial.

Punishment in juvenile court ranges from probation to remand to a residential facility. Minors do not go to jail, nor is there a jury trial in juvenile court. All decisions are made by the presiding judge. Juvenile courts are closed to the public, and the entire record is sealed. If certain conditions are met, the court and police records can be erased.

How the school proceeds is a separate matter.

Teen Likely to be Tried as Adult in Duluth Hillside Beating, Stabbing, Duluth News Tribune

With 11 probation violations, 14 citations for failing to appear in court, nine felony charges brought against him and 19 (alcohol) consumption tickets, 17-year-old Norman Wayne Cutbank III apparently hasn’t gotten the message of the juvenile justice system.

He was in juvenile court again Tuesday, but this time it appears he’s heading for adult court after being charged in a juvenile delinquency petition with seven crimes: two counts of attempted second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and theft of a motor vehicle.

Cutbank is accused of taking part, along with 25-year-old Donald William Laquier Jackson, in the stabbing and baseball bat beating of a 17-year-old female and 18-year-old male in Duluth on Oct. 13. The female was stabbed in the heart and was hospitalized in serious condition. The victims have asked authorities to not identify them because they fear for their lives.

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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