First, ask why this happened.

As I’m writing this, there’s a twelve year old in Cook County Juvenile Detention Center on the charge of 1st degree murder. He isn’t the first and he won’t be the last. Technically, he isn’t the youngest person ever charged for 1st degree murder–that goes to the kids falsely accused of killing Ryan Harris. To be fair, this isn’t even the most disturbing thing I’ve heard since I started working in the Juvenile Court–and a 12 year old accused of murder is pretty damn disturbing.

Here’s what I can tell you what happened this week:
The kid was arraigned–which means they described what the charges were for the client and the family. He was also, probably, held in custody until his trial date. There is a chance that he was released on home confinement/Electronic monitoring (house arrest and wearing a bracelet); although, given the level of attention this case is going to get, I doubt that option was exercised.

A hearing date was also, probably set. At this point, Probation’s role is at a minimum. The POs in the unit, including the supervisor, are waiting for the case to be assigned for a social investigation-this is a court document that is designed to evaluate the child’s environment, school records and create a treatment plan to rehabilitate the client.

I also know that it isn’t the judge I thought it was going to be. But the entire department is watching this closely; so should the rest of the city.

There is something fundamentally wrong in a society when children are even accused of committing such violent acts. Before we say that this kid is guilty, and before we fault the system, we–as a city–need to look to the reasons why this event happened.

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3 Comments so far

  1. Ben (unregistered) on November 25th, 2005 @ 2:09 pm

    Something fundamentally wrong with a society that even accuses children of committing violent acts?

    What are you talking about?

    If he’s being accused, he hasn’t been found guilty, but there is obviously some reason for the assumption.

    Are you trying to say that children can’t commit murder? Or just that there should be an age limit on which people can be charged with murder?

  2. Marty (unregistered) on November 25th, 2005 @ 5:59 pm


    First, in illinois, there is an age limit where a child can be charged with a crime. It’s under 12.

    What I’m talking about is the fact that the world is an ugly enough place that these crimes are real. It’s a sad shame that these terrible things can be — and are — committed by children. Sorry if I was inspecific.

    At the same time, we need to discuss WHY kids commit such violent acts, not the reasons that allow for assumptions of guilt.

  3. Ben (unregistered) on November 29th, 2005 @ 10:24 am

    I didn’t know that there was an age limit. That is interesting…

    So why do you think that young kids are committing crimes at such young ages?

    I think it has to do with the deterioration of societal mores and poor parenting.

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