Congress & the Courts -  No charges for 6 y.o. who shot teacher (497 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: Marci (marcinmin) DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by hostMar-9 9:19 AM 
To: All  (1 of 38) 

ABC News:

A local prosecutor said Wednesday that he won't charge the 6-year-old boy accused of shooting a teacher at his Virginia elementary school.

"We don't believe the law supports charging a 6-year-old with a criminal offense as serious as this one," Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney Howard Gwynn told ABC Hampton, Virginia, affiliate WVEC in a phone call.

Gwynn said they would have to show that "any defendant, including a 6-year-old," is competent to stand trial and understands the legal system enough to help with their defense.

"I think it's problematical to assume that a 6-year-old understands the criminal justice system enough to be competent to stand trial," Gwynn told the station.

Gwynn added that once his office has reviewed the facts of the case, they will determine if anyone else should be criminally charged in connection with the shooting.

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From: Black Cat (NYTSHADE) DelphiPlus Member IconMar-9 2:05 PM 
To: Marci (marcinmin) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (2 of 38) 
 130443.2 in reply to 130443.1 

That is insane.  The kid was smart enough to make plans to get the gun, conceal it when he came into the school, wait for an appropriate moment, aim with some measure of skill and pull the trigger.  He is guilty as sin of shooting that teacher.

Next thing to bring to trial is who is accountable for the crime.  You could make an argument for diminished responsibility for the kid, but *somebody* is responsible for that act of violence.  And a trial is the best way to compel everybody involved to truthfully testify about what happened in the days and weeks and months leading up to the shooting.

This sounds to me like people are just trying to make this go away instead of seeking justice.

  • Edited March 9, 2023 2:05 pm  by  Black Cat (NYTSHADE)

From: BlueManDudeMar-9 2:32 PM 
To: Black Cat (NYTSHADE) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (3 of 38) 
 130443.3 in reply to 130443.2 

Six year old kids have nada in the reasoning skills dept. You can't try a six year old kid for such a crime, ever!



From: Black Cat (NYTSHADE) DelphiPlus Member IconMar-9 3:06 PM 
To: BlueManDude  (4 of 38) 
 130443.4 in reply to 130443.3 

Sure you can.  Something or someone instilled the idea in his head that it was okay to take a gun from home to school and shoot a teacher.  As a 6YO, I agree that he might not be fully-responsible, but the teacher was shot and justice demands that someone be held accountable.  As I said, there is no more effective means to assure cooperation and truth than a trial.


From: BlueManDudeMar-9 3:13 PM 
To: Black Cat (NYTSHADE) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (5 of 38) 
 130443.5 in reply to 130443.4 

Whatever dude!


From: David (DAVEBUTLER) DelphiPlus Member IconMar-9 4:44 PM 
To: Black Cat (NYTSHADE) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (6 of 38) 
 130443.6 in reply to 130443.4 

Although the media may be reporting the prosecutor's decision as novel or a departure from the norm, it actually follows centuries-old law, which holds that very young children lack the mental capacity to form a criminal intent. The child's inability to participate in his defense, to make decisions such as how to plead and whether to testify, is a separate but equally serious issue. Punishing a six-year old (would we lock him up?) because 'someone needs to pay' becomes punishment for punishment's sake,  where the child is incapable as a matter of law to have a criminal intent.

As clear as the law is with the six and under crowd, things get less clear as the child ages. If I recall correctly from my law school days, a kid needs to be around 11 or so to be charged with juvenile offenses like truancy or petty theft, older for more serious offenses like serious assaults. And a teen needs to be at least 15 or so, usually older, to be treated as an adult for serious crimes.


From: Black Cat (NYTSHADE) DelphiPlus Member IconMar-9 9:30 PM 
To: David (DAVEBUTLER) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (7 of 38) 
 130443.7 in reply to 130443.6 

I believe if it came to trial, the 6YO would not be held primarily accountable and probably would serve no jail time no matter what.  I'm saying that we need a trial to bring out all the facts surrounding why he felt compelled to bring a gun to school.  Since I don't know the facts, I can only guess that the parents were gun nuts and convinced the child that guns were a solution and not a problem.  That could be a verdict in a trial, but there does have to be a trial.


From: David (DAVEBUTLER) DelphiPlus Member IconMar-9 9:48 PM 
To: Black Cat (NYTSHADE) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (8 of 38) 
 130443.8 in reply to 130443.7 

Then bring a criminal case against the parents, assuming, as may well be the case, that the prosecuter has sufficient evidence to believe he or she can get a conviction. But there's no justice in prosecuting a six year old.



From: Black Cat (NYTSHADE) DelphiPlus Member IconMar-10 12:59 PM 
To: David (DAVEBUTLER) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (9 of 38) 
 130443.9 in reply to 130443.8 

Unfortunately, the 6YO is the one who pulled the trigger and nobody denies that.  So a trial would allow all the facts to come out with everybody under oath.  The trial might reveal that the child really did lack the capacity to make the choices in the case all by himself, but you have to start somewhere.  So have the trial for the actual shooter and if he's found not guilty because of his age or whatever, that's fine.  But it would be a whole lot trickier to charge the parents if you don't have anybody who has made statements under oath.  If appropriate, additional charges could filed against other people.


From: David (DAVEBUTLER) DelphiPlus Member IconMar-10 2:37 PM 
To: Black Cat (NYTSHADE) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (10 of 38) 
 130443.10 in reply to 130443.9 

Well, the six-year-old could testify in the parents' trial... 

BUT the judge would first have to be convinced that the 6 YO can understand what 'telling the truth' means. At 6, he's on the cusp of being considered credible. Which is another way that very young children are not a good fit in the court system.


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