I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…
“John Doe” sits alone in a Pennsylvania jail cell day after day. He is accused of murdering a 90-year-old woman with his bare hands. The other day his jailers brought him something to kill the tedium of waiting for trial: a coloring book. He’s ten years old.
He’s being tried as if he were thirty.
That is, unless and until that state’s prosecutor comes to his or her senses, and moves the case into juvenile court where crayons and such are more the order of the day.
Yes, it’s a very serious crime (or at least, event — first they’ve got to prove it was a crime), and yes, it’s a very serious breach of civilized standards to haul a fifth grader into adult court, and jail him in a place where some inmates are dreaming of a prepubescent Christmas.
Speaking of Christmas, does anybody seriously think competent to stand trial, a person who believes in a couple of months Santa Claus will be sliding down his chimney?
The kid could get life in prison, where presumably someone would break it to him that they don’t have accessible chimneys in prison.
It’s embarrassing but true: this kind of thing can only happen in America — oh, and Somalia, the other member of the United Nations that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. For some reason all the other countries think locking up a child for life is just no fair.