A six-year-old boy was tried in the United States: in some states it is allowed by law
In the US state of North Carolina, a six-year-old boy was brought to trial. He was accused of causing damage to property due to the fact that he picked a tulip in a flower bed in a neighboring garden near the bus stop. Writes about it Hromadske.
This is made possible because North Carolina has the lowest age for prosecution in the United States (and in the world), according to local editions of the Winston-Salem Journal and WECT.
According to the lawyer of the six-year-old boy (his name was not disclosed) Julie Boer, due to his age, the client could not focus on the hearings for a long time. Therefore, during the trial, he was given a coloring book and wax crayons.
The judge, however, decided to close the case when he learned that the boy's mother could not, for good reason, attend the preparatory hearing.
As noted by the Winston-Salem Journal, from 2015 to 2018, 7300 applications were filed in North Carolina against children aged 6 to 11. Most of them are referred to social services, but some still go to court.
A judge, under state law, has the power to impose sentences on a six-year-old child, ranging from community service to imprisonment. In 2015, when a 7-year-old boy was sent to prison, the minimum age for imprisonment was raised to 10 years.
Not just one state problem
The situation of a six-year-old boy has sparked a debate about revising the minimum age of prosecution in North Carolina. As noted by WECT, at the national level, it is recommended to start prosecution at the age of 14.
At the same time, in the state of Washington, the minimum age of prosecution in court is 8 years, and in the states of Connecticut and New York it is 7.
In turn, the state working group on racial equality and criminal justice in 2020 recommended raising the minimum age of prosecution from 6 to 12 years. She also notes that more often cases of non-white children go to court than white children (in 2015-2018 - 47% of 6-11-year-old black children versus 40% of whites).
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Juvenile justice problems are common in the rest of the United States. In 2015, the Juvenile Justice Initiative estimated that some 76 children under 000 were tried and imprisoned as adults.
In some states of the United States (notably Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina), juvenile courts only hear cases against children under the age of 16, and all others are referred to adult courts. North Carolina raised the age limit for juvenile justice to 17 in 2019.
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