1. ZYX
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    ZYX Member

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    Minors on trial as adults, general american court system questions

    Discussion in 'Research' started by ZYX, Aug 11, 2015.

    So, I'm doing background for a character who I know is in some kind of police custody / jail, but I'm not sure exactly where she'd wind up based on what she did. She's fifteen-seventeen when this happens.

    Her boyfriend was cheating on her, so she went and shot the two girls ( whose parents obviously called the police ), then went to the boyfriend's house, blew up the top floor where his brother was ( she'd placed bombs earlier that day when she came over, since she was still dating the guy ), then went inside and shot the parents and the boyfriend. So, six people in total. Then she turned herself into the police.

    Still working out exactly how she was able to have the time to turn herself in, so she may just surrender when the cops get there.

    I don't really know how the trial would work ... I know she would be pleading guilty but I don't know if they'd use insanity or something since she is ... off ... but I don't know the specifics. I don't know if she'd go to regular jail or some sort of juvenile place or a mental facility or what, but I definitely need to know since that's where she is at the start of the story.

    Hopefully I explained this well; I tried to be brief but I can elaborate if needed. Thanks !
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It seems quite likely that she would be tried as an adult, but I believe that the exact age at which that's an option varies by state, or even by jurisdictions smaller than states. Similarly, I believe that the legal definition of insanity for criminal defense also varies by state/jurisdiction.

    I was going to suggest that you research where the various teen school shooters were taken when arrested, but were any arrested alive?
     
  3. ZYX
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    ZYX Member

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    That's what I was thinking, too. It's very hard to search for, and I think I'm fairly good at getting Google to show me what I want to see, but I haven't had much luck.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It depends on the maturity of the minor and the severity of the crime:

    Slate op-ed says this is a bad idea:
    Trying the 12-year-old “Slender Man” stabbers as adults is as illogical and barbaric as they are.

    Much as Nancy Grace isn't someone I'd refer to the opinion of very often, she gave a good rationale for this decision today on CNN. They would still be treated as juveniles including the sentencing length, but the state would have more control when they turned 18 than to just cut them loose.

    Grace thought that by trying them as adults they could be held or released based on their psychiatric evaluations when they turn 18. It's not that they'd do life in prison, but they stabbed their friend then left her to bleed to death, (but she crawled to safety and didn't die).
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's easy to search for, Google 'minors tried as adults'.

    Bureau of Justice Stats
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Anyone who uses a freaking bomb deserves to be tried as an adult.
     
  7. ZYX
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    ZYX Member

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    That's what I was thinking, but I don't know exactly what that would mean for her sentence and how juries have reacted in similar cases.

    I meant more like the shooting parts. So far I haven't found anyone taken alive, but it is interesting ( if very creepy ) to research, so I'm going to keep going with that as long as I can, mental-health-wise.

    That was a really interesting article if nothing else ! Interesting to note how they might react to her delusions / obsessiveness over the bf.

    It seems like she's be tried as an adult and given a pretty decent sentence ( 20+ years ) but I still need some examples with more victims ( which, again, very creepy. I feel creepy. ).
     
  8. Ben414
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  9. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah it would be pretty obvious she would be tried as an adult. Anyone that can make a bomb and then premeditates blowing up people has enough of a right mind to go to jail as one. She could say she is crazy as hell but it wouldn't matter.
     
  10. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm tired and lazy right now typing from my phone so I have no resources. But I know that pleading insanity or using mental illness in court at all tends to have very little impact. We think it does because media stains our memories when these things happen, but a tiny percentage of those whose attorneys use it ever beat a case with it. I'm recalling this from memory, from two classes I've had in 2 years. Hopefully I remember correctly.

    I know nothing about what the criteria is for minors being tried as adults but I'd imagine federal and state laws would vary. Interested in learning more about that though.
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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  12. AspiringNovelist
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    Those are very serious crimes. Each state has code of laws regarding every type of crime from a parking ticket to a bloodbath like you described. Just do a search for code of law (murder) in the place setting of your novel. Keep in mind the use of bombs may propel federal charges in addition to state charges.
     
  13. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    Six premeditated murders and a bombing would certainly be enough to get tried as an adult.

    The issues related to mental health vary by state. Some places have "guilty but insane" pleas, while others only have the "not guilty by reason of insanity". If the case goes to a criminal trial, where she goes would depend on the jury's verdict. Even if they take the defense's side, she'd still be going to a mental institute of some sort. If she gets sent to prison, she'd probably be kept in a juvenile facility until she became an adult, and then would be transferred to a normal prison to serve out her sentence. Considering the nature of the crimes, I could see a life in prison sentence on the table. That's the maximum possible sentence since the Supreme Court ruled the death penalty for minors to be unconstitutional.
     
  14. jorel
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    I can't believe it. This thread sent me on a day-long journey through various cases where kids or teens committed various crimes.

    My brain is rattled. I'm scared of (young) people now...

    As for your question: teens have been tried as adults for much lesser crimes than the ones described.
    It really depends on the judge's ruling. Honestly, you could go anywhere with this story, as, from what I've learnt today, judges sometimes rule on a whim.

    In case you're interested (don't know whether it's relevant for your story) there are videos of murder trials on youtube that could help you better understand the different aspects of the whole ordeal. It is not my field but they were really interesting.
     

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