Thursday, April 12, 2007

6 yr old felon

Slate has this article on a 6 yr old kid who was ARRESTED and CHARGED WITH A FELONY for having a tantrum in class.  And even better, as far as I know, the charges have not been dropped.  If you look at the document, the kid was actually, really and truly, put in jail. 
It seems absurd and out of the ordinary, but childhood has been criminalized everywhere, everyday.  I cannot even begin to count how many times I've represented an adolescent sibling because their younger brother or sister called the police, saying they got in a fight.  And this isn't any unusual fight, where there were knives or anything involved.  Nope.  Just regular old arguing, sometimes some wrestling or pushing, and sometimes taking the other's property.  And the cops actually arrest people for that, and the DA never ever ever dismisses those cases.  It is happening all the time and no one seems to see how completely fucking absurd it is.  The judge issues orders of protection so the kid can't go home, the DA won't dismiss the case so the kid has to take a plea, and the cops are happy to arrest 16 yr old girls for pushing her 11 year old brother after he broke her cell phone.
NO ONE IN THE COURT THINKS THIS IS SILLY!  THIS IS FUCKING OUTRAGEOUS!  I only wish I could say it was unusual.  Unfortunately, the police and the courts are happy to criminalize this behavior.  I only wish you knew how often this happened. 
And to the school officials?  Shame on you.  You should not be in childhood education. 

1 comment:

123txpublicdefender123 said...

I see this all the time, too. To make it even worse, these kids end up being convicted of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE assaults, which make them look like wife-beaters. I don't know how it works in other states, but here in Washington, not only is the kid charged with DV assault for a sibling fight, but because it is DV, they have to be arrested. They can't simply be administratively arrested (as almost every other kid charged with a misdemeanor is), and released to the parents to appear in court at a later date. It is outrageous.