80.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 16, 2024


May 22, 2002 – If the Legislature gives its approval, 13 years instead of the current 14 years will be the minimum age at which children can be tried as adults when they are accused of committing violent crimes such as murder and rape.
"I do not generally advocate the wholesale incarceration of young people, but I strongly believe that there are situations when children involved in adult, criminal conduct should be treated as adults," Gov. Charles W. Turnbull said in a Government House release.
Currently children over 14 charged with violent crimes are automatically tried as adults. According to the release issued Tuesday, in the governor's proposal, "the Family Division of the Territorial Court would be given the discretion to transfer the person for proper criminal proceedings to a court of competent jurisdiction." Efforts Wednesday to obtain clarification of this statement were unsuccessful.
Turnbull said that the age of offenders continues to drop, and therefore the age at which they can be tried as adults needs to be lowered. On Tuesday, he asked the Legislature to consider his request.
In the release, Turnbull said that what to do with young people who are robbing, raping and murdering people is one of the biggest challenges facing the community. He also said that there is clear evidence that older criminals are using young people to do their "dastardly deeds."
"We as a society cannot be blind to it," he said, adding that it is up to those charged with protecting the community to seek justice for victims of criminal acts. He said the proposal will give prosecutors a needed tool.

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