On May 26, 2000 Nathaniel Brazill shot and killed his seventh grade, english teacher at Lake Worth Middle School with a .25 caliber handgun. As a result he was tried as an adult and sentenced to a state prison for 28 years. Now, if a person were to hear a story like this, they would probably say Thank god they put that psychotic kid away, and would not question the reasons why he shot his teacher We’ve created the image that teenagers are something to be feared states Dan Macallair of the Center on Juvenile justice in San Francisco.
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All we know about Nathaniel Brazill was that he was in the seventh grade, he had somehow acquired a handgun, and he shot his teacher. On the other hand, what we don’t know is why he killed his teacher, what was the state of his mental health, and what was his home environment like. Although this isn’t to say that what he did was ok, all it would ask is, did he get a fair trial and can he learn from his mistakes if he is charged as adult. I mean in the end isn’t he just a kid right?
As a society, we tend to acknowledge that kids, below the age eighteen, can’t and don’t operate as adults, that’s why the law takes special steps to shield kids from the implications of their actions, and infrequently seeks to ameliorate the damages caused once kids make wrong decisions, by giving them a second chance. The law prohibits individuals below eighteen from voting, serving within the military, and a plethora of other things, however in some states, they’ll be hanged for crimes they committed before they reach adulthood. According to ACLU, the US Supreme Court prohibits execution for crimes committed at the age of fifteen or younger. Nineteen states have laws allowing the execution of a person that committed crimes at sixteen or seventeen. Since 1973, 226 juvenile death sentences were imposed on these poor teens. To this day, according to ACLU there has been twenty-two juvenile offenders who are dead and eighty two who are still on death row.
In the article, “Juveniles Don’t Deserve Life Sentence” by the author and juvenile court judge, Gail Garinger, he explains why he believes, kids should not get sentenced to life in prison and tried as an adult. Approximately seventy nine young adolescents have been sentenced to die in prison nationwide. These teenagers should not be judged by their crime first but rather the scenario, because there’s always three sides to a story that the judge needs to hear. These include the victim’s point of view, the teens’ point of view, and the truth of the whole situation. When giving a person a sentencing in general,
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