The adult age requirement in the US is 18 years old by law. If you are under the age of 18, you cannot vote, rent a hotel room, or even purchase a lottery ticket and you are considered a minor. In some cases though minors are convicted as adults, go to adult prison, and get life without parole. The courts deem these minors the worst of the worst and they are untreatable and are not capable of rehabilitation just like Nathan Ibanez, who murdered his mother and is serving life without parole. Juveniles have gained more rights from the Supreme Court in the three following cases: in Kent v. United States it was determined juveniles must have due process, in the case In re Gault it was determined juveniles must have access to a lawyer and know what they are being accused of, and in the third case where capital punishment for minors was abolished. Today, juveniles should only be tried as adults in the most extreme cases, and should never be convicted with life without parole because they should be allowed a second chance at redemption since they are still capable of doing something productive with their lives.
First of all, in the case of Eric Jensen from the PBS report, “When Kids get Life”, Eric was convicted to life without parole for assisting his friend Nathan in the murder of Nathan’s mother, even though he did kill her or even know Nathan was planning to kill her. Eric fainted after he saw Nathan murder his own mom and was so shocked about what was happening he could not react or prevent anything. The issue is that Eric helped Nathan move the body to the car and did not report the crime. Yet, Eric, who committed the crime at 14, was convicted to life without parole for second degree murder even though he did not directly comm...
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...is that the murders leave families in ruins and forever scar them when they lose a loved one. Once again many of these arguments are true, but kids are less mature and more vulnerable to peer pressure because their characters are still forming. Children can also change over time and become good with care.
In the end, juveniles should never be sentenced to life without parole and should rarely be put into adult jail. The US is a symbol of hope and second chances, so shouldn’t we be giving out kids a second chance as well. Also, teenagers that come out of the juvenile system fully rehabilitated have potential to be productive members of society and can contribute to the best of their abilities. Overall, when prosecuting juveniles, the courts and juries must ask themselves a question, what if that was my kid on trial and shouldn’t they get a second chance at life?
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