Juvenile Justice Accountability in the Court of Law
The Big Question/Quickwrite (7 min.) • If you committed a crime, do you think it would be fair for you to be punished like an adult who committed the same crime? Why or why not? • Are there ever any exceptions which would cause you to change your mind? Should juveniles be treated on a case-by-case basis or should juveniles be protected based on their age?
What is a Juvenile Delinquent? • California: “any person under the age of 18 years who persistently or habitually refuses to obey the reasonable and proper orders or directions.” • Juveniles have their own legal system that deals exclusively with minors. However, some states have made it so that juveniles who commit adult crimes are tried and sentenced in adult courts.
The Concept • The juvenile criminal justice system operates according to the idea that young people are fundamentally different than adults, both in terms of level of responsibility and potential for rehabilitation. • The treatment and successful reintegration of youth into society are the primary goals of the juvenile justice system, along with overall public safety.
Key Legal Terms: skip 3 and define homicide murder first degree murder second degree murder voluntary manslaughter involuntary manslaughter
Key Legal Terms defined • homicide: The killing of one person either intentionally or unintentionally. Homicide includes accidents and murder. -not suicide -legal/illegal - s/o kills s/o else - on purpose or by accident
Key Legal Terms defined murder: The killing of someone with malice of forethought. It could be done while committing another crime. evil plan usually with other crimes illegal!
Key Legal Terms 3. First degree murder: The killing of a person with malice of forethought; the crime was planned. It was done deliberately and is illegal. - worse than second degree - Evil plan, on purpose - ex: Claudius’ plan in Hamlet
Key Legal Terms 4.Second degree murder: A killing done during a crime deemed very dangerous to a human life. The crime was most likely not committed with the intention of killing. - murder is not goal/original plan - ex: gang fight or rape
Key Legal Terms 5. voluntary manslaughter: The killing of someone intentionally but without malice of forethought. For example, if the killing was a crime of passion (killing a spouse or lover because of jealousy), the intention was to kill, but it was not planned. - on purpose, without an evil plan - crimes of passion (ex: domestic violence) - intention is to kill!
Key Legal Terms 6. involuntary manslaughter: Killing someone unlawfully but without malice of forethought. It was committed without intent to kill and without a conscious disregard for human life. - no evil plan or intent to kill - example: drunk driver - “by accident”
Scenarios and Legality (#1) • A 17 year old troubled girl has been slowly poisoning her parents each night at dinner. Three months go by and she arrives home to find them dead on the floor of the kitchen. The coroner’s report indicated their death was caused by cyanide poisoning. • What crime did she commit? First Degree Murder • What was her punishment? • life in prison without parole
Scenarios and Legality (#2) • Three 16 year olds were handing out at the park drinking Jack Daniels. One boy started shoving his friend. Soon the shoving escalated into punching. One boy tripped and his head hit a spark-edged rock. He died of a concussion before help could arrive. • What crime did he commit? • Second Degree Murder • What was his punishment/sentencing? • three years in prison after being tried as an adult.
Scenarios and Legality (#3) • Suspicious that his girlfriend was cheating, a 16-year old boy went to her house and found her in bed with his brother. Impulsively, he grabbed the nearest lamp and hit his brother on the head. His brother died two days later. • What crime did he commit? • Voluntary Manslaughter • What was his punishment/ sentencing? • six years in prison
Scenarios and Legality (#4) • A 13-year-old boy broke into an auto parts business to steal hubcaps. The 17-year-old security guard picked up his boss’ gun and fired two warning shots at the thief. The second shot hit the 13-year-old and killed him on the spot. • crime did he commit? • Involuntary Manslaughter • punishment/sentencing? • fifteen years to life
Surveying the Text • What do the titles “Supreme Court to Rule on Executing Young Killers” and “Kids are Kids - Until They Commit Crimes” tell you they will be about? • “Kids are Kids” was published in the Sacramento Bee. “Supreme Court to Rule” was published in The New York Times. How do you think they will be similar? How do you think they will be different? • What issue do you think these articles are going to discuss? What position do you think Liptak and Lundstrom will take?
Predictions: Adam Liptak • Read the first three paragraphs of “Supreme Court to Rule.” • What do you think “Supreme Court to Rule” is going to be about? • What do you think is the purpose of this text? • Who do you think is the intended audience for this piece?
Predictions: Marjie Lundstrom • Read the first six paragraphs of “Kids are Kids.” • What is Lundstrom’s opinion on the topic of juvenile crimes? • Should kids be treated as kids when they commit adult crimes? Has the article changed your mind on the issue?
Vocabulary: underline, write and define these terms (# = which paragraph) • Constitutionality (1) • Prosecutors (1) • Demeanor (2) • Remorse (2) • Alienated (2) • Nonchalant (2) • Plummeting (4) • Culpability (7) • Mitigating (9) • Inconsistency (6) • Quandary (7) • Heinous (14) • Coddling (14) • Perpetuated (20)
Focused Questions • Do you think that sentencing juvenile killers to the death penalty is a “cruel and unusual” punishment? Use “constitutional” or “unconstitutional” in your answer. • Should juveniles be punished less harshly than adults? Use “leniently” in your answer. • Describe the demeanor of a teenager that you know. Do you think that demeanor would cause a jury to be lenient? • Do you think execution should be banned for some age groups of juveniles? Which ones?
More Focused Questions • What factors do you think juries should take into account when they sentence juveniles? • Do you agree with Lundstrom that it’s inconsistent to deny privileges like voting and drinking to teenagers but then sentence them as adults? Why? • Do you think juveniles should be tried as adults if they commit especially bad crimes? Use the word “heinous” in your answer. • Do you agree with Lundstrom that the media perpetuates the stereotype of violent youth?
Reading • “Many Kids Called Unfit for Adult Trial” by Greg Krikorian • “Startling Finds on the Teenage Brain” by Paul Thompson.
As you read… • Annotate the text. • Ask questions, express surprise, disagree, elaborate, note any moments of confusion or curiosity. • Write what pops into your head! Don’t over-think it.
Denotation and Connotation • Denotation: The most specific or direct meaning of a word. The dictionary definition of the word. • Example: HORSE- barnyard animal cowboys ride. • Connotation: The idea or meaning suggested by or associated with a word or thing. This term deals with the feeling that a word provoke. • Example: HORSE- exciting, scary, dirty, beautiful
Examples of connotation: + or -? • Beast vs. Animal • Slender vs. Skinny • Thrifty vs. Cheap • Smell vs. Aroma • Some words just sound “nicer” than others. • Some words are “loaded” with meaning.
Loaded Words Erratic behavior Maelstrom Reckless Startling Delicate Drastic • Massive • Wildfire • Purged • Violent passions • Rash actions • Vastly immature Discuss: What do these words suggest about teenagers?
Summary • Write a six sentence summary of “Many Kids Called Unfit for Adult Trial” by Greg Krikorian. (Make sure your summary includes the most significant information from the text).
Discussion Questions • Develop 5 discussion questions about any topic from the texts that we have read. • Your questions should be under-the-surface and able to be discussed thoroughly and debated with other students.