Prosecuting preteens as adults defies logic

By Christopher Moraff

January 7, 2015

In October, Pennsylvania began a mandatory prosecution of a 10-year-old boy as an adult for murder — a prosecution illegal in any other developed nation and in all but one other U.S. state. On Jan. 5, a judge granted a petition from the boy’s attorney to move the case to juvenile court, where it clearly belongs. The fact that adjudication did not begin there reveals an underappreciated but critical flaw in the way U.S. courts deal with children who commit crime.

To be sure, the particulars of the crime are shocking, all the more so when you consider a child who only recentlycompleted fourth grade allegedly committed it.

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