To convince my audience by proposition of policy that juveniles who commit murder should be tried as adults.

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1 STUDENT S NAME: TITLE: Kids Get Away With Murder DATE: PURPOSE: THESIS: PREVIEW: To convince my audience by proposition of policy that juveniles who commit murder should be tried as adults. Youths are committing adult crimes, but are being treated as children. Today, we ll consider the problem of juveniles who commit murder, the harms related to our present laws, and a plan of action. TYPE OF ORGANIZATIONAL PATTERN: (Monroe s) Motivated Sequence Attention: I. Fourteen year old Arthur had been in trouble with the law since he was four (Press 93). Need: A. Arthur broke into the home of 60 year old Lillian Piper. 1. After raping and strangling her, he helped himself to her ice cream and then stole her car. 2. One hour later, when Arthur was picked up by the police he said, You can t do any thing to me. I m just 14 (Press 93). B. Arthur is one of many juveniles who know how the juvenile court system works. C. Today, we ll consider the problem of juveniles who commit murder, the harms related to our present laws, and a plan of action. II. Juveniles who commit murder are a problem that we, as law-abiding citizens, can no longer ignore. A. Our juvenile courts have a theory that young criminals can be turned from a life of crime through counseling rather than a prison term (Schwartz 6). (Issue 1-A What is the present system?) B. Our present juvenile court system varies from state to state.

2 2 1. Most states require the juvenile to be 15 or older at the time charged, before the court will consider trying him/her as an adult. 2. Once the court decides to try a juvenile as an adult, a preliminary hearing is held (Baldwin s 31). a. It must be proved that the juvenile can not be rehabilitated. b. It must be proved that the safety of the community requires the juvenile to be held for a period longer than the age of majority. 3. Juvenile court files are kept secret to protect the juvenile from being tagged a criminal (Gest and Kyle 51). 4. There are no juries, just a judge at the trial (Kennedy 6). a. The judge decides guilty or not guilty. b. The judge decides the length of the sentence. 5. A juvenile who is found guilty is sentenced to reform schools, training schools, and wilderness camps (Meyer 287). 6. Two years after being released the juvenile s records are sealed. (Issue 1-B What are the harms in the present system?) C. There are many problems with the present juvenile court system. 1. Usually, juvenile penalties amount to a few months in an institution (Gest and Kyle 51). 2. After being released the juvenile frequently returns to crime. 3. Juvenile court hearings and files are kept secret from the public. 4. There are no consistent laws in dealing with juvenile murderers from state to state. 5. Juvenile records are sealed two years after release. 6. It is very hard to have a juvenile tried as an adult. (Issue 1-C How significant are the harms?) D. The harms in the present juvenile court system are quite significant.

3 3 Satisfaction: 1. Each state has its own laws on sentencing, so national statistics are hard to find ( Juvenile 3). a. In Ohio, a juvenile sentenced for murder at the age of 16 will be released at the age of 21. b. In California, the average sentence for a juvenile murderer is 2-1/2 years (Levine 318). 2. One-half of all juveniles who are arrested are arrested again as an adult. a. According to the FBI, in 1985, 1311 persons under 18 were arrested for murder. b. According to the FBI, 1 in 10 murderers in 1985 were under Since court hearings and files are kept secret, the police and judges often are unaware of the juvenile s past record (Gest and Kyle 51). 4. The laws are inconsistent from state to state. a. In New York a juvenile aged 13 can be tried in an adult court. b. In Ohio a juvenile aged 15 can be tried in an adult court. c. In Vermont a juvenile aged 10 can be tried in an adult court. d. In Wisconsin a 9 year old boy who wouldn t share his bicycle was stabbed by an 11 year old girl and 2 boys, 12 and 14 years old. 1) According to Wisconsin law the 11 year old girl was too young to even be charged as a delinquent. 2) The two boys could be charged, but held only until they are 19 ( Boy 12). 5. After the records are sealed the juvenile no longer has a criminal past; if he/she were to commit a murder as an adult, he/she would be considered a first-time offender (Meyer 286). 6. According to Bill Lane, Director of the Juvenile Court in Washington County, no juvenile has been tried as an adult in Washington County and it is nearly impossible to get the jurisdiction transferred to an adult court.

4 4 III. I have a plan that will provide a consistent approach to the problem. A. My plan is as follows: 1. Federal law would mandate that any juvenile who commits murder should be tried as an adult. 2. The trial should be handled with adult court rules; any proof of justifiable homicide could be used in the trial as the defense. 3. A juvenile convicted of murder would serve his/her sentence until the age of 18 in a maximum security juvenile facility. 4. At the age of 18 the juvenile would be transferred to an adult prison where he/she would serve the remaining sentence. 5. The cost of applying the law would be paid for by the federal and state governments, and by the prisoners themselves. a. It would cost approximately $4 million a year per state for this law, according to my calculations. 1) The federal government would cut $1.4 million from the space program. 2) The state would provide $2.4 million. a) This would be paid by state and local taxpayers. b) It would cost the average taxpayer $4.00 a year. 3) The prisoners would work and pay one-half of their wages for upkeep, which would cost another $200,000. b. The federal government would also provide another $2 million per state to build a new prison by cutting this money from the defense program. 6. Therapy would be required for the prisoners during their entire sentence, but there is already funding in the budget for this. (Issue 2 Is this plan workable?) B. This plan will work. 1. When juveniles see that the system is consistent, it will deter crime.

5 5 2. This plan will provide the same laws for juveniles who commit murder anywhere in the U.S.A. (Issue 3 What are the advantages and disadvantages?) C. There are some disadvantages to this plan. 1. One draw back is the cost of maintaining this program, but $4.00 a year per taxpayer is a minor cost compared to the relief we will feel knowing that juveniles are not getting way with murder. 2. Another disadvantage might be the further over-crowding of prisons, but with each state constructing a new prison, this problem will be alleviated. D. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages in my plan. 1. The juvenile will be required to serve a longer sentence. 2. The juvenile will receive therapy during the sentence, which will reduce repeat offenders. 3. With court hearings and files no longer kept secret, the police and judges will be aware of the past record of the juvenile. 4. This federal law will provide for consistent sentences in each state. 5. The juvenile s records will no longer be sealed. 6. This plan is much less expensive than allowing criminals to run the streets committing crimes. (Issue 4 Is this the best plan?) E. I compared my plan to one by Benedict Koller, a lawyer who heads the American Legislative Exchange Council s juvenile reform project (Christopher 23). Visualization: 1. He wants a point system based on the seriousness of each crime, age and background of the juvenile to determine the length of sentence. 2. My plan will be consistent, where his plan leaves much to the discretion of the presiding judge. IV. Kathleen Heide, a criminologist at the University of South Florida, interviewed 59

6 6 male adolescents convicted of homicide and attempted homicide. A. She found they could be divided into categories ranging from those who killed because they wanted to hurt someone to the action-seeker who saw crime as a good sport. B. She asked the 59 youths if they felt remorse; 40% did not. 1. Some blamed their victims for not responding to their command. 2. Others blamed their victims for failing to duck (Press 94). Action: V. In conclusion, juvenile crime is a serious problem. A. Our present system is inadequate. 1. It is inconsistent from state to state. 2. It is extremely difficult to get a juvenile tried as an adult. 3. A juvenile who is sentenced serves a short sentence and then is released. B. You can write to your Senator or The Office of Juvenile Delinquency Prevention at the following addresses (Congressional Directory) C. Remember Arthur, the 14 year old who killed Lillian Piper; he was right our present system can not do much to him.

7 7 Works Cited Baldwin s Ohio Revised Code. Cleveland: Bank-Baldwin Law Publishing Company, Print. Boy, 9, Killed Over Bike: 3 Playmates Charged. N.Y. Times. 7 Aug. 1985: 12. Print. Christopher, Maura. Six Pioneers Who Open New Paths in Juvenile Justice. Scholastic Update. 3 Nov. 1986: Print. Congressional Directory. Washington: GPO, Print Gest, Ted, and Cynthia Kyle. Kids, Crime and Punishment. U.S. News & World Report. 24 Aug. 1987: Print. Juvenile Justice Under Fire. Scholastic Update. 3 Nov. 1986: 93. Print. Kenney, Anne. Inside Prison Walls. Scholastic Update. 3 Nov. 1986: Print. Lane, Bill. Personal interview. 13 Oct Levine, Richard M. Bad Blood A Family Murder in Marin County. New York: Random House, Print. Meyer, Peter. Death of Innocence. New York: G.P. Putnam s Sons, Print. Press, Aric. Children Who Kill. Newsweek. 24 Nov. 1986: Print. Schwartz, Judith D. The Debate Over U.S. Juvenile Justice. Scholastic Update. 3 Nov. 1986: 6-7. Print.

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