1. Where I Hide (Ember)

    Where I Hide (Ember) New Member

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    Minors in the Court System

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Where I Hide (Ember), Oct 17, 2017.

    Hello!

    So in my story Where I Hide, an otherworldly Voice puts my main character Delilah Weylin into a really tight spot. One night when she's like 13, her house catches on fire and her parents die, but she has no recollection of this at all. She only remembers walking outside and seeing the fire department. They do live in an older home, I imagine, and I'm acutally not sure if she's the one who did it or if it was a paranormal force that sparked it. This Voice (that's its name, as far as Delilah is concerned) has shown Delilah vivid imagery of fire since it first showed up, which I'm assuming is right before everything starts to happen.
    Before, I had her get checked in with phychiatrists, taken from school, the whole works, becuase her parents knew about this Voice. But that seemed too much, you know? Now it's just a big thing that happens over the course of a few years till it gets up to the current point in time in the story.

    My research question, is:
    Delilah is still a minor when she is found and the court system believes its her. she has no way of proving it wasn't. She's put under legal guardianship of her cousin Toby, and I have an estimate of how long the story takes and a guess at how long she'd be in court if they can't find evidence. How would the court system treat her? What are the duties and priorities of the court? How would this affect her schooling and what all would Delilah have to do to please the court or complete her tasks and meetings? Any other additional information is welcome!
     
  2. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    How the courts would treat her would very much be dependent on where the story takes place. Country to country and state to state, laws can vary dramatically. It might be a good idea to find a professional in the area you're planning on having the story take place to get an idea of how that would work. I can say very broadly, however, if they can't find any evidence of foul play, it probably wouldn't go to court, so you'd have to establish why the court believes she's the one that did it.
     
  3. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    My main question would be why they believe this.
     
  4. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic

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    It's innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent :). You're going to need to plant something at the scene that has her fingerprints on it or do something else to frame her. For example, a box of matches and some flammable liquid are found stashed in a bush next to the burned-down house, a witness (who is "in" on framing her) swears that they saw her coming out of the house and doing it, the police find out that she has a possible motivation to do it, etc.

    If the police have no evidence against her, I believe they'd have to let her go. That's how it works in England, anyway. If it was proven, she'd go to trial, and her school would probably suspend her while they waited for the verdict. So, even when she wasn't in court, I don't think she'd be in school.
     
  5. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Even if they did have evidence against her, accidents aren't a crime unless they're caused by some sort of negligence and, being a minor, the charge of negligence would fall to her acting guardian. So unless they believed she did it on purpose chances are they wouldn't press any charges either.
     
  6. Sir Robin

    Sir Robin Member

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    The question is what would happen if she were convicted. Just because she is only thirteen doesn't mean she couldn't be tried as an adult. Either way, it's possible they could send her to a Juvenile facility which would basically put her in reform school. I would assume as long as she was under the care of her cousin, she could still go to public school is she wasn't locked up. Sometimes if they find the alleged crime heinous enough, she could be sent to a juvenile facility during the length of the trial without the possibility of bail. This is assuming charges are filed of course.
     
  7. thelittlethings

    thelittlethings New Member

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    Depends where she's at.

    In the UK, it would probably be innocent till proven guilty.
    I believe the US is a lot stricter but at the moment the worst that can happen to a juvenile who's been convicted is becoming a lifer but with chance of parole.

    As she's thirteen, she probably wouldn't be tried as an adult.
     
  8. file_not_found

    file_not_found New Member

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    It would be neat if the reason why was that yes, her parents knew, and she was scrutinized and disciplined heavily because of it. Not because they were dicks, but because they believed something was mentally very wrong with their child. If the court has reasonable evidence to believe the girl has schizophrenia or some such perception-altering disorder that could be a reason.
     
  9. DueNorth

    DueNorth Senior Member

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    Very likely, since her parents died and she is in need of guardianship, the issue of her complicity in a crime is irrelevant to her being supervised by family court until she is 18 unless there was a will granting parental rights to the cousin in the event of her parents’ death. She most certainly would not, as others have mentioned, face legal liability in juvenile court without evidence pointing to her guilt or her confession. She might, however, again under auspices of family court and family court services (family social services), be expected to undergo psychological evaluation related to “The Voice.”
     

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