A 12 year old boy was recently adjudicated and found delinquent of 1st Degree/premeditated Murder. Story Here. How can a 12 year old boy formulate the mental intent to kill under the law? We don’t let 12 year old juveniles operate vehicles or enter into enforceable contracts. Further, when dealing with sexual crimes, a juvenile is considered a victim and unable to consent to sexual activity. Yet, in this case that same juvenile who is unable to do the aforementioned activities, somehow can formulate the mens rea to commit a crime.
The focus of juvenile court is to rehabilitate the juvenile, not to punish him/her even though punishment may play a role in rehabilitation. The prime consideration of the juvenile system is the welfare of the child. If the system works, the juvenile will receive all of the opportunities to rehabilitate he/she needs. One can only hope the 12 year old in this example gets the help he needs and doens’t spend the next 6 years in detention learning bad habits from pre-rehabilitated juveniles.