The long arm of justice has, once again, involve itself in a situation that doesn’t make sense and seems to waste time in the court system.
According to The Winston-Salem Journal, earlier this month in North Carolina, a 6-year-old boy was arrested and had to appear in court after he was accused of picking a tulip from a yard as he waited at a bus stop. The child had to appear in front of a juvenile court judge to face a charge of injury to real property.
The case was dismissed.
Because of this incident, advocates are trying to get the law changed to raise the minimum age at which a child can be charged and arrested.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s Task Force on Racial Equity in Criminal Justice is recommending that the age be raised to 12. Another agency, a subcommittee of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, which was established by the state legislature, has gone on record at suggesting age 10. While the National Juvenile Justice Network recommends 14.
According to WECT, Chief District Court Judge J. Corpening chairs a subcommittee that’s been working since January 2020 to study this dilemma and will submit a report to the North Carolina General Assembly. Corpening said the committee is ready to recommend raising the minimum age to 10. It will also add a provision making children 10 and 11 years old receive special evaluations before proceeding with the case.
“Should children who believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy be making these significant life choices? I think the answer is no,” said Corpening. “We were excited in 2017 about raising the age of criminal jurisdiction to 18. I’m excited about this, too. I think this is the second big piece to that, to ‘raise the floor’ to protect those youngest of our children, who can’t see over the tables in our courtrooms.”