Published 3:57 am Tuesday, March 11, 2003
The Associated Press has offered a release which in a real way applies to all 50 states. It begins by saying "every state allows children under 16 years of age to be tried as adults." Then it adds to the statement above saying the recent research indicates that many youngsters less than 16 years of age just cannot understand their predicament and therefore are unable to help attorneys with their defense in court.
Over the years, in following court trials of youngsters, it has been a story generally speaking that courts tend to bend over backwards in trying to discover the abilities and attitudes of boys in trouble. It therefore is difficult for us to learn that in some states youngsters are tried, found guilty, and sentenced when their mental capacity would not allow them to help with their trial.
We believe North Carolina has done a good job in this matter of protecting the rights of children involved in criminal proceedings. In fact, we might have gone too far in this state.