During the late nineteenth century a separate system of justice was in the process of being created for juveniles with the focus on rehabilitation as opposed to punishment. In the latter part of the twentieth century, out of necessity, the Supreme Court issued opinions which led to introducing stricter sanctions resembling those of criminal proceedings. There is much debate encircling the matter of transferring juveniles to adult court and a verdict of a life term without parole, for it commensurated with capital punishment. The rationalization used by secularists is that the human brain is not entirely developed until around twenty five years of age; therefore, a juvenile cannot be held liable for their actions due to this biological immaturity. Despite these claims there is ample evidence which dictates that juvenile adolescents can comprehend the dissimilarity between right and wrong. Each case should be weighed judiciously on an individual basis in consonance with the extenuating determinants of the crime. When juveniles perpetrate Part I offenses that are heinous crimes (e.g., murder, forcible rape, armed robbery), it behooves the legal system to adjudicate these dangerous youth as adults. Society has a responsibility to the real victims of the crimes and their families who have suffered immeasurably by the violence forced upon them by savage juvenile offenders. God, the greatest Judge of the Universe, declares His absolute law in regards this matter in numerous passages within the Bible.
Keywords: juvenile offenders; adult transfers; adult sanctions; victims of crime;
Should Youths be transferred to Adult Court? The resolve of this paper is to determine, using systematic evidence that juveniles can comprehend right from wrong; ergo, if they commit a nefarious offense they should be reprehensible for their crime and transferred to adult court. The focus is primarily on the most heinous Part I offenses: murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, armed robbery, and arson. Part I juvenile offenders are not being transferred to adult court due to their age, but it is the consequences of the heinous act(s) they have committed that justify this waiver. Banning the right of the State to prosecute Part I violent juvenile offenders as adults would be a detriment to the community.
According to Magellan Military and Family Life Counselors (n.d.) some of the cognitive advancement of adolescents include: (1) heightened competency for abstract thought, (2) cerebral activities develop and become increasingly significant, (3) moral compass develops, ability to discern the dissimilarity between right and wrong, (4) contemplation in regards to the meaning of life, and (5) expansion of the capacity to establish objectives (p. 8.).
Research evidence concludes that a human’ ability to ascertain right from wrong begins at infancy. According to the research of Dr. Paul Bloom and Dr. Karen Wynn of Yale University's Infant Cognition Center (a.k.a., The Baby Lab) babies can differentiate good from evil at three months of age (Wallace, 2014). In their book Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil, Dr. Bloom and Dr. Wynn (2013) have concluded that:
Humans are born with a innately predisposed morality, a sense of good and evil is bred in the bone and although humans naturally are moral beings, that environmental factors can play a role in enhancing or degrading a human’s moral compass; however, a person would still know right from wrong with the exception of those who are legitimately developmentally challenged (pp. 52, 156).
There is an on-going debate that albeit juveniles have the ability to discern the dissimilarity between right and wrong, can they comprehend the actual severity of their crimes? The scientific community concedes that the prefrontal cortex of the brain is not completely developed until around twenty…